Chris Weitz continues to talk about his connection to the Twilight franchise in a positive way as he does A Better Life press:
“Many directors might see a Twilight gig as a stepping stone to getting bigger and bigger films, but you sort of did the opposite following New Moon, which was interesting, and it’s your second film in a row at Summit. What’s the secret of the relationship you have here?
I didn’t have the Inception kind of thing in my mind, that Dark Knight was going to allow me to do. I had A Better Life, that New Moon was going to allow me to do — not so much because it was a quid pro quo, because Summit didn’t see the script for The Gardener until we were halfway through New Moon. They just liked it. I said, “You do understand that I’m not going to do anymore vampire movies?” And they said, “Yeah, we get it, it’s OK — we love this script, let’s do it!” I think there was just this degree of trust established between me and Summit, whom I’ve known for a long time. I’ve known the people there for a long time, Patrick Wachsberger and Rob Friedman and Eric Feig, and they trust that I can deliver what I say I’m going to when I show them a script that they like, and I trust them in terms of keeping their promises and what they want, and also how avidly they’re going to try to market something.”
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When I attended the MTV Movie Awards back in June, I had the amazing opportunity to see a preview of Chris Weitz’s new movie A Better Life that is currently opening in limited release in select cities (see details here). What really struck me as I watched the story was that it didn’t have a specific political agenda and avoided stereotypes. It was a very human story of what a father would do to put himself last in order to give his only son A Better Life.
Just yesterday I was again fortunate and was able to be part of a last minute fansite phone interview with Chris where he talked candidly about his film and what’s in it for Twilight fans. Shout out to my fellow site ops from: Twilight Examiner, Twilighters Anonymous, Team Twilight, Twilightish, Twilight Series Theories, and Twilight Moms.
Q: How were you able to get such amazing emotions out of the actors, especially [Jose Julian] – I just read on his page that he’s never done anything like this before. The movie’s so powerful; how did you get the actors to portray that on-screen?
Chris Weitz: Well, I mean Demian Bichir is a big actor in Mexico. He’s been in many movies; he’s incredibly technically accomplished and a brilliant actor so that was never in doubt for me. Of course, when you’re starting with a newcomer, you don’t really know what you’re going to get, but I think the thing that we managed to do was to schedule it so that the scenes which he was being a difficult teen and kind of a pain in the butt were early on, which is kind of easier for a sixteen-year-old actor to go to, and then the more emotional scenes, by the time we got around to shooting that, he had lived in our little circus for you know a couple of months. He had learned from Demian; he had learned how to focus; he had been through all this thinking about things, and so that helped him. And of course acting with Demian when he’s delivering that sort of final speech in the detention center, I would find it hard not to convey a hell of a lot of emotion myself.
Q: Twilight fans obviously, certainly we love our good-looking men and the abs, but we do like more than that, and one of the big themes in the Twilight series is family and relying upon your family. Can you speak to those similar themes in A Better Life? [Read more…]
Chelsea Rendon, (pictured far left) who gives a fantastic performance as a girl who future is uncertain because of her gang connected family, wanted to work with Chris Weitz not only because of A Better Life but also because of New Moon.
“18-year-old actress Chelsea Rendon, who plays Luis’s tough-as-nails gang-related girlfriend, also drew on real-life relationships for her role. “I grew up in the East L.A. Montebello area, and I do have family that has been in gangs and has been in jail,” said the high school senior, who graduates on Thursday — a day before A Better Life debuts in limited release.
Still, Twilight fan Rendon was especially excited to land the role for a very specific other reason. “I first heard about [A Better Life] through the Twilight circle, because Chris had mentioned it in a New Moon interview,” she recalled. “I read it and my mom said, ‘Oh, you have an audition for this,’ and I was like, what!? I got all excited. And when I got to the auditions and first met him I was like, ‘Oh my God, I love you so much!’ Then I touched his hand and was like, ‘Oh my God, I technically touched Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner in some way or form!’”
(For the record, she’s on Team Switzerland.)
Also check out Chelsea at the 1:05 mark on this video
There are tons of pictures out today of Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner supporting Chris Weitz at the LA Film Festival premiere of A Better Life. The best compilation slide show is over at Examiner. Check it out.
Unfortunately they wouldn’t let us embed this so click here. Definitely a worthwhile watch. You really want to get past the preview part to where Chris and the movies co-stars talk. chris is at the .40 mark and there’s a great tidbit with Chelsea Rendon at the 1:05 mark
It’s no secret that Chris Weitz had a really bad time making The Golden Compass. New Moon was his chance to do book adaptation the way it should be done. However, he soon found out that it wasn’t all a bed of roses. Indiewire interviewed Chris about his post New Moon life and his new film A Better Life:
“New Moon” was all about getting back on the horse for me and working with some very talented people – Kristen Stewart, Alexandre DesPlat, the great Spanish cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe. I wanted to make a lush widescreen romance out of a ‘tweener phenomenon and I knew the audience would come. I would say, “They’re expecting a cheeseburger, but I’m going to give them foie gras.
Such is the naiveté of late-early-middle age. The restaurant critics were not supportive. Nonetheless, I was able to compose hybrid real-action and CGI sequences on a grand scale, create sheer cliffs and raging seas from pixels, and transform people into horse-sized wolves at the side of the legendary Phil Tippett.
We built it and they came. Our release day remains the biggest day in box-office history, a testimony to the wizardry of Summit’s marketing department more than anything else. Now, with the kung-fu of CGI at my disposal and a big old blockbuster puffing wind into my sails, it was time to find the biggest movie, with the biggest robots, the muscliest superheroes, the starriest stars…
…Except it wasn’t. My brain was shot. My home was distant. My family was unfamiliar. I had been inducted into the high mysteries of CG, but the secret inside the box was a little scrap of paper that read, “You are now making two movies at a time, not one.” I grumbled about quitting. Then, when no one tried to stop me, I returned my thoughts to a script that was then called “The Gardener[now entitled A Better Life].”
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Chris Weitz is doing lots of press for his new movie A Better Life (which is fabulous, I saw a preview and it’s well worth seeing). The film, like New Moon, is a Summit Entertainment film and marked Chris’ second collaboration with the studio. Here’s what Chris had to say about working on a lower profile film with Summit:
“We didn’t have the pressure day to day of getting calls from the studio or anything like that because they are, rightly, preoccupied with what was going on with ‘Breaking Dawn,’” Weitz says. “It’s always wonderful to be the little movie that is being shot while the gigantic movie is being shot at the same studio. I’ve been in that situation a couple of times. It takes all the attention away from you. You get to get away with a lot more.”
Chris also dished a bit of new information regarding New Moon’s (we assume Volturi) casting:
“The whole point of this film is it’s kind of about the invisible people in our lives,” he says. “It’s the people who are trimming hedges or filling up a water glass or bringing your car. So to put someone like Benicio Del Toro or Javier Bardem in that part would instantly, I think, signal to an audience that everything was going to be alright, whereas in this case, you meet somebody for the first time in this movie and it’s astonishing how good he is. So we had kind of the double whammy of [Bichir’s] technical abilities and his relative unfamiliarity to American eyeballs.”
Weitz first sparked to Bichir when he saw Steven Soderbergh’s “Che,” in which the actor portrays Fidel Castro. He actually called him in to read for the part of the vampire king in “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” largely to check him out for “A Better Life,” which was a bit confusing for the actor.
“He didn’t know he had been called in to play a vampire gardener or something,” Weitz says with a laugh. “He had gotten kind of a garbled message.” But Weitz knew instantly that this was his guy, and that he would crank out a portrayal that would connect with the audience in unexpected ways, given his largely unknown status in the States.”
Summit Entertainment has just informed us that Chris Weitz is on Twitter Chris’ new movie is a Summit Entertainment film. It is called A Better Life and it comes out in June.
Chris Weitz’s latest movie goes back to his indie filmmaker roots. It’s called A Better Life and is incidentally a Summit Entertainment film. Chris Weitz describes the movie as, “In a very unsentimental, realistic way, it explores the love between a father and son and the tremendous efforts that people make to realize their dreams in this country.”
During their interview, Cinematical asked Chris if Twilight fans would come out for this film. Here is what he had to say:
“To the Twi-hards:
Weitz says: “Look, let’s be honest: There’s not a single vampire, not a werewolf or star-crossed romance in sight. Jose is quite a heartthrob but just doesn’t have Jacob’s abs. Demian plays an amazing Dad but doesn’t have to deal with quite the same issues as Charlie Swan. But if a fan of ‘Twilight’ came away from watching ‘New Moon’ with a sense that that movie has been done well by me and my crew, they might be interested in seeing another film that deals with some pretty intense feelings and, frankly, packs a tremendous emotional wallop. I’ll put it this way: I bet that Bella would go see ‘A Better Life.’ I bet she’d make the drive out to Port Angeles. And I bet she’d like it.”
Check out the full story on Moviefone’s Cinematical.