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New Moon Trio

By Fred Topel
Nov/Dec 2009

New Moon is sure to be the big draw in movie theaters this month. As if the popularity of the Twilight books wasn’t enough, the films converted even more into Twihards. The fans who read all the books already know what’s in store. If you’re waiting to see the movie, you may be surprised that leading man Robert Pattinson takes a backseat.

Edward Cullen (Pattinson) breaks up with Bella (Kristen Stewart), thinking it is best for her not to be involved with a vampire. In his absence, Bella spends time with Jacob (Taylor Lautner), her childhood friend. While Edward is gone, Pattinson only appears in a few images of Bella’s imagination. That’s fine by Pattinson. He didn’t want to add more screen time at the expense of Bella’s story.

“There was talk, at the beginning, of showing his back story in South America, going around moping or something,” Pattinson said. “That would have been terrifying for me, and I think it would have been catastrophic for the film as well. I fought as hard as I could to keep it as limited as possible, mainly because it just doesn’t happen in the book. But then, at the same time, it’s scary just to do a voice-over because it could well end up being very cheesy. I guess there was a medium.”

When Edward leaves, Bella becomes self-destructive, taking irresponsible risks like riding on strangers’ motorcycles. It’s part of a process that ultimately let’s her grow enough to make her own decisions. In that way, Stewart feels Bella is a good role model.

“It's a very extreme story,” Stewart said. “I think people who take to this story need to be a little bit more mature than that. I think the only reason that they take to it is because they are. The only way that I can justify that, and maybe I'm an immature girl as well, I really feel like if you feel like you need to do it, you need to do it, ‘it’ being anything. Then after you're told that you've made a mistake and that you're wrong, if you're willing to say that you made a mistake and ‘I was wrong and I’m going to try the next thing,’ there's nothing to be ashamed of there at all. Be extreme. Go for it. I think that's the point. I know this is a movie about immortality and mortality, but you live once. I'm also not preaching to anybody. I'm just trying to justify. I’m standing behind the story. That's what I think.”

In the middle of it all is Jacob. He’s there to console Bella as a friend. Then he falls for her, but still can’t compete with her idealized love, Edward. It’s not like he doesn’t have super powers. Jacob’s a werewolf. Even Twilight fans debate which monster is right for Bella, dividing into Team Edward and Team Jacob.

“I think it depends on what kind of girl you are, what kind of guy you like,” Lautner said. “Edward and Jacob are complete opposite guys. I personally love Bella and Jacob’s relationship, how they begin with best friends and it starts to grow into something more and more.  Both guys are in love with Bella.  Both guys are always going to be there for Bella, and they’re protective.  I just think it’s what kind of guy you like.”

Drama is about dealing with emotionally overwrought stories. Real girls may not have to choose between a vampire and a werewolf, but the passion of first loves rings true. Stewart feels like she’s representing real teenagers as Bella, even though the story is fantasy.

“She's normal, and I think the most typically relatable thing is that she's awesome and she doesn't know it and she's very sort of confident but also not arrogant,” Stewart said. “It's a weird thing to be. I think she also has a lot of really innately female qualities that for a character in literature I think it's awesome that so many girls can look up to her because she's fickle and unabashedly. It's like, 'I'm allowed to make mistakes and I'm going to do it and I'm going to do it right now and I'm not going to be ashamed of it.' Bella is very much like that. I think she is a good example for a young girl.”

The stars of Twilight may never be normal teenagers or young adults again. Now they’re not only famous, but super famous. Their fans want to know everything about them, especially if there is any real life chemistry behind the scenes. Stewart and Pattinson deny they are dating for real, but they’re learning how to handle the scrutiny that comes with Edward and Bella.

“I guess it’s inevitable that you become more comfortable,” Pattinson said. “You still fight against some things. The franchise itself, there’s nothing really scary about it. I’m on set all the time and I’m still on set. I’m going to be on set all next year as well. So I don’t really know. Getting errands and things, I don't know what that really is like because I haven’t had a sustained period of time where I’ve been off. I still don’t know how it’s really changed. I still feel like I’m pretty much exactly the same, which is maybe not a good thing.”

They love their fans though. When they meet someone who’s moved by the Twilight story, it makes dealing with the paparazzi worthwhile. “Man, we have fans all the time that will just burst into tears,” Lautner shared. “That’s just moving, like it must mean so much for them to meet us.  It’s an amazing feeling to know that you can touch somebody that way.  It also makes you sad. ‘Don’t cry. Stop crying.’ You don’t know what to do.  You’re like, ‘It’s okay.’ It’s hard, we feel bad for them but you’re also happy at the same time.”

Twihards know no boundaries either. It’s not just teenagers. “I always find it funny when older people come up,” Pattinson said. “There was a woman who came up to me the other day who must have been in her 90's. It’s very unusual and they say exactly the same things as 12-year-old girls. That is kind of bizarre.”

It’s really two separate worlds. There’s the public world where they have to function as the figureheads of a phenomenon. Then there’s the private side where they get to do their personal work.

“I think my favorite thing about this is the fact that I can keep it personal,” Stewart said. “If the saga didn't become a franchise and it was literally just a series of movies that I had done, they would mean just as much to me. That's also the best part, the fact that it isn't like that, the fact that so many people are affected by it and are invested in it just as much as me if not more. The fact that this is so important to so many people makes me so happy.”

They’re all in it together too, and they have each other. “I do spend a lot of time with Kristen because all my scenes are involved with her,” Lautner said. “Kristen and I are very close. I guess I’m close with Rob, too, because we spend a lot of time together as well. The great thing about this series is the whole entire cast is so close, and it would be a nightmare if we weren’t. It would be impossible to make this series because the characters are so tight. So we’re really thankful that we all get along so well. I think most of our advice and talking and stuff has pretty much stayed on a business level and that’s the great thing with our relationship.  All of us are completely open and not afraid, we don’t hold anything back.  We talk about our characters together and have meetings to discuss our characters.  It’s really, really helpful.”

New Moon opens November 20.