“Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer surprised journalists earlier this month when she turned up at the press day for “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1” at the swanky Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles. It marked her first appearance on the press circuit for the film adaptations of her best-selling saga since the 2008 interviews for the first installment. In the meantime, the first three movies based on her series — “Twilight,” “New Moon” and “Eclipse” — have bitten off more than $1.8 billion in worldwide grosses.
“I’ve been kind of hiding out for a few years. It’s interesting to be done and not done. We had the final night of shooting, but it keeps going. So with the second part of the movie (‘Breaking Dawn’ still) coming out, it doesn’t feel like an ending yet. … I’m not quite sure how it will be once we get to the end. I know there are a lot of people that I’m just going to miss seeing,” said Meyer, who had just come from Hollywood’s famed Chinese Theatre, where she watched “Twilight” stars Stewart, Pattinson and Taylor Lautner have their hand and footprints immortalized in cement.
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1,” the first half of the two-film finale based on the fourth and last novel in her supernaturally successful book series, opened in theaters Friday, with hordes of fervent fans known as “Twi-hards” flocking to their local cinemas for midnight screenings. “Part 2″ is due in theaters Nov. 16, 2012.
During the press conference, Meyer, 37, was asked about the gender and sexual politics of “The Twilight Saga,” which have been criticized as retrograde or even twisted. After all, in “Breaking Dawn – Part 1,” human heroine Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) marries her courtly vampire fiance Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), has her first sexual encounter on their honeymoon and basically dies from the experience.
But Meyer said the cause of Bella’s death – which is offset by her rising as a vampire at the close of “Breaking Dawn – Part 1″ – was what was compelling to her. Bella dies while giving birth to her super-strong, fast-developing half-human, half-vampire baby, Reneesmee (Mackenzie Foy).
“The politics I never think of when I’m writing. It’s about a story that is interesting to me,” she said. “I’m not going to say that ‘Breaking Dawn’ doesn’t get weird, because it does. But these are things that as I was exploring what it means and meant to be a woman, particularly to be a mother because that is a big part of my life.
“For Bella, it is something that happened to her very young because she’d be a vampire and its not going to work out anymore (after she is converted). I’ve always been really fascinated with the idea that over a hundred years ago, if you were going to have a baby you might die. You’d be taking your life in your hands to do that and there is a courage that we don’t have to develop. I’m fascinated with that type of woman: The woman who makes the choice that she is going to risk her life. It’s like being a solider.
“I like to explore things that I didn’t have to do in writing. I never became a vampire either. It really was never about the politics but how as a person you would deal with these things as an individual story, not as a story that this is an example for how I think life should be lived, or this is an example of a perfect or correct life. This is an example of a flawed life with choices and mistakes and how they affect people. So for me it’s never about anything different than that.”
Read more of my feature on Meyer Monday here on BAM’s Blog, on NewsOK and in the Life section of The Oklahoman.