Chris Weitz Talks About the Ups and Downs of the Post New Moon Experience

chris-weitz-new-moonIt’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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  1. The sense that I got when I first watched New Moon was that it was the quality product of a skilled hired hand, rather than the dream project of a passionate fan like Hardwicke’s Twilight. But now I think more highly of New Moon because it really works as a somber bridge between the more frenetic Twilight and Eclipse. David Slade conveyed the menace of a vampire horde in Eclipse just like he did in 30 Days of Night. And since the stories in the first three movies have those tonal differences – new love, heartbreak, and ominous peril respectively – they needed the contrasting sensibilities of different directors.

  2. always edward says:

    yes the books are better – but i love the movies. they are my secret guilty pleasure. when i first left eclipse the movie, i was swept up in the proposal, the action, the “cleanness” with which slade projected the novel onto the screen and imagined for a moment that it was the best of the three. but as time as passed, i realize that when i want my twilight fix, its not eclipse that i want to watch – its new moon. Weitz captured the mood of new moon wonderfully, and its has that old movie romance to it. it truly is my favorite of the three – thanks Chris Weitz – you did a great job.

    • Karen G says:

      I agree with you, always Edward. The books are my favorites but when it comes to the movies, I think the one that really captures the feel of the book and is most “Twilight” is New Moon by far. It is my favorite movie of the three, though not my favorite book. I though Chris Weitz did a fabulous job transforming the book into a movie.

      • emilypruitt says:

        I agree with you both! Some can look at this as a positive or a negative, but there are very few artistic liberties with New Moon – it is quite literally the book come to life. Which could be why so many of us, including myself, love the movie most. After the great debacle of “The Golden Compass” the name Chris Weitz was literally a dirty word in the book to movie adaptation realm. So naturally, he wanted to prove to another loyal, established fan-base that he has respect for literature and can make great movies of our beloved books. Hardwicke and Slade both made movies that were based and often followed a close/similar vein as the books, but they definitely stamped those films with their own brand of film-making. That’s why they’re directors. But my kudos, will always lie with Chris for making the movie we wanted to see. I only wonder how many more pivotal scenes from Twilight we could have to watch, if Chris had been chosen first. C’est la vie. Here’s to Condon’s Breaking Dawn – that man is a great storyteller. Let’s just hope he tells Stephenie’s in it’s truest form. Just how we like it.

        • The thing is,is wasn’t CW’s fault for the reason why GC failed at the box office. Too much opposition from the Catholic church hurt it’s chances of being seen as the brilliant series it is. I thought Chris did a fine job with the Golden Compass and I was really looking forward to seeing The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass get made as well. If Summit didn’t think he could have properly adapted NM,they wouldn’t have given him the job. NM is difficul to adapt because you have your main vampire family absent for most of the story. Cinematically that had to be shown in a way that the audience didn’t miss them as much. I’m glad they came up with the concept of Bella “seeing” Edward,rather than just hearing his voice. New Moon is still my favorite of the films so far,but I’m sure I’m going to love Breaking Dawn even more. From what we’ve seen so far Bill Condon is going to deliver the goods to us and I can’t wait to see it in November.

    • …include me in on that, as well. New Moon, by far is my favorite of the films. Chris did an incredible job, capturing the more somber tone, playing on the heartbreak of the book. It reminded me, of how I had felt, reading New Moon, while also taking me through different emotions. I never really cared much for New Moon book Jacob, because I just could not ‘feel’ a connection between him and Bella. But, New Moon film Jacob, completely threw me. I finally understood why there were Teams Edward, and Jacob. Kristin and Taylor, were so…tender, and and good, and for the first time I was like “Edward, who?” The cgi, in my opinion, was MUCH better than in Eclipse. I liked the wolves having expressive eyes, and I also loved the ‘dreamy quality’ of the film. Eclipse felt too harsh, and the love triangle too forced. I also think Chris got better performances out of the lead actors, than David got.

      I think the only issue I had with New Moon, was the Bella and Edward confrontation/make up scene in her bedroom. It was too quick, and hurried. No where near enough dialogue, (some quite important) and too easy. I was not convinced at all, of Edward’s remorse, and guilt.

      But, Summit’s big mistake, not waiting a year to release Eclipse. Instead they did the “hurry and get it out now” thing, and there was no time for anticipation. No time to resolve up, what was seen in New Moon. I am glad they are not making the same mistake again.

  3. wow that was great. i love chris. he is obviously intelligent, we know how funny he is from twitter, and i love to see his passion about his work. very inspiring.

    new moon is not my favorite book, nor my favorite movie in the plot sense. but it was definitely my favorite as far as beauty goes. that movie glowed to me. i desperately wanted a beautiful look made skillfully and chris weitz delivered that better than i had hopes for. i will always love him for that!

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