I didn’t get back from filming in St. Helen’s until about 2am, so needless to say, I slept in the following morning. I knew I was going to be up all night for the final day/night of shooting, so I tried to sleep as long as I could and be lazy for the time that I was actually awake. So I stayed in bed, typed up my notes from the previous day, and organized everything for the long day to come. The cast was called to be on set around 2:00, but filming wasn’t likely to begin until 3 or 4, and even then it was driving scenes- which means I definitely couldn’t sit and watch the scene being filmed, as there’s not much room in a moving vehicle for even all of the crew, and there wasn’t a video village set up yet, so I didn’t rush to get there. I took my time driving to
The attention to detail continued as I drove into downtown Vernonia and saw signs for 101 North (101 does run through Oregon, but nowhere near Vernonia, and it’s the main highway that goes through Forks to Port Angeles, so these signs were planted for extra authenticity), Forks City Hall, Forks Hardware, Forks Police Station and general signs that would be placed in downtown Forks. ‘Downtown’ may be deceiving as it was really just one street with a couple of bars, a bank, some antique shops and a mini town-square… it was very, very small, but so is Forks, WA. If you look back to my post about the Twilight Pilgrimage, you’ll see a vivid description of Forks, and Vernonia did a fine job of playing the role of a tiny town in the
They were filming general background shots of Forks to use in panning, intro shots etc. Again, it was supposed to be a rainy day in Forks and Mother Nature wasn’t helping, so the monstrous water truck repeated its action of wetting down the street every few minutes to give the appearance that it had just rained. They were about to yell ‘action’ so I ducked into an alley to get out of the shot and ended up talking to a girl named Catherine, who was one of Bella’s photo doubles, for a bit. She was very friendly. We were both trying to stay out of the shot, so there’s not much else to do but chat when you’re stuck in an alley! She said the filming had been a really good time, the cast and crew were very pleasant, that she liked working with Kristen Stewart, and while she didn’t want the filming to end, she was excited to be able to trim her hair! The only thing she was allowed to do to her appearance during the whole of filming was cut her fingernails so her appearance wouldn’t change from that of Bella’s. It’s crazy the things that I never thought about in the filmmaking process…
During a break in the filming, we peeked our heads around the corner to see what was going on just as Deon Boyce, the second assistant director, was walking down the street directing the extras on where to go. He looked at Catherine and me and said, “You guys, over there, cross the street to that corner when they yell ‘background’.”….. My internal response was… "WHAT?! You want me to be somewhere on film???" And my composed, external response was, “Deon, I’m not an extra, I’m not even a part of the crew,” and Catherine’s response was, “Deon, I look just like Bella, I probably shouldn’t be in the shot.” But he put us there anyway. He assured us that it was just for some background movement, Catherine wouldn’t be recognized, and I didn’t have to do it if I didn’t want to but it was fine if I did. Well of course I wanted to! I highly doubt you’ll be able to see me, I’m sure I’ll end up on the cutting room floor, but it was quite the adventure to be an extra for twenty minutes on the set of Twilight! Catherine stayed behind me as we crossed the street, just so I could hopefully give her a little bit of cover, so if you see a long shot of the main street of Forks, with two people crossing the street very far away, one of them looks like Bella and the other is wearing jeans, a black top and a backpack… you will have just seen my film debut. It was silly, but certainly a good story, and it gave a little excitement to the afternoon as it was most definitely a slow afternoon. I did get to see Catherine Hardwicke’s family again which was very nice. They didn’t stay long as Catherine was very busy and there wasn’t a lot to watch, but I’m glad I got to say goodbye and thank them for all of the kindness that they shared with me on set.
As the afternoon turned into evening, all of the driving shots were finished (Bella and Charlie in the cruiser, Edward and Bella pulling up to the station in the Volvo, and Carlisle with his Mercedes), and by about 7 or 8, we broke for ‘lunch.’ I sat with a few crew members who dealt with the greens on set. That’s right, there’s a whole team devoted to dressing the sets with trees, bushes, foliage and flowers. They hide set equipment and cover up elements that the directors don’t want to be included in a scene. For example, there was a big sign outside of the bank that said the time and temperature that didn’t quite work for the shot, so they covered it with a camouflage tarp and placed a number of tall, skinny evergreens in buckets in front of it. I literally did not know it was there until the very end of the night when they started taking down the cover. It is so interesting to see the details that go into these films, and the sheer number of people it takes to pull off one scene!
Anyway… after lunch/dinner/whatever meal I was eating at the ‘start’ of my day at 8pm, I meandered back towards the credit union that was doubling as the Forks Police Department for the evening. Video village was now set up behind the bank (in the drive-through, nonetheless) and I was glad to see the comforting bank of monitors, and the various directors chairs set up for the night’s filming. I dropped off my stuff, was handed a set of cans (Yay! It really made all the difference to hear the cast and crew in order to know what was actually going on in and behind the scenes), and walked around to the front of the building to watch the lighting being rigged and say good evening to Gillian. We chatted for a bit about the script's journey: how it gets from the director to the screenwriter, to the author, to the producer, to the studio, and back through the circuit again in the writing process, and in the middle of our conversation, a couple led their miniature pony right by us, effectively halting our speech. I told Gillian that this was the third or fourth time that they had paraded the pony by the set, as I had seen him a few times during the day, and that I thought they were hoping to get him into the film. Gillian looked at the pony critically and said, “Hmm… I wonder if Catherine [Hardwicke] has seen that,” with a smile. Sadly the little pony didn’t make the film, but he did watch the action with his owners for hours. Literally hours… there was a whole slew of fans and town residents who just watched the filming until about 3am. That’s dedication right there…
Eventually they set up the shot for a scene in front of the police station. This was an added scene so I can’t go into much detail (I’m sorry! I know that’s annoying!) but it was basically a small addition to enhance the menacing aspects of the nomads… something that I personally think is quite necessary; because if you think about the nomads in the books, they are the real villains, the ‘bad’ vampires, and we have very little introduction to them even to realize how scary they can be. We only see the Cullens, the ‘good guys,’ and while we can hear Edward say that he’ll be more protective over Bella because the nomads are around, there isn’t a lot of time for us as readers to get to know these characters before they are suddenly a huge threat. In the film, there is even less time to come to that realization, and I’m guessing that the nomads are going to be the main threat/conflict in the film… so they’re going to have to build that up a little bit. Anyway, this scene involved
Similarly, it was also my first time seeing Charlie Swan, played by Billy Burke. Billy Burke isn’t what I had in mind for Charlie (I don’t know about anyone else, but I pictured a middle-aged, overweight kind of a guy… I’m thinking Cliff from Cheers or something similar), but again, once I heard Billy talk, saw him in uniform, and witnessed his interactions with Bella, I could see how this guy could definitely be Charlie. He had that rough exterior, the lack of outward affection towards Bella but a strong undercurrent of love for her that you couldn’t help but notice. I suppose Billy Burke is more the correct age than Cliff from Cheers anyway! The scene that they filmed between him and Bella on this particular evening will probably only be about 45 seconds on-screen, but it took well over an hour to get just right. They filmed the scene many times with both of them in the shot, then many times focusing just on Charlie, and many times focusing just on Bella. These scenes will then be edited together to pick the best of each moment to create a fluid and effective scene.
So while they were filming this scene, the rest of the cast was milling about, relaxing in their trailers, perhaps napping as it was about 3am at this point, and I was sitting behind the bank/police station in video village with Greg and Gillian. We were chatting around the propane heater (again, thank the gods for propane heaters; it’s truly the only reason I made it through the night) as filming wasn’t occurring at that moment, and who should walk around the corner of the building? None other than Rob Pattinson himself. Well, he shuffled around the corner more than walked as it was frigid, he wasn’t in a thick coat and oh yes, it was still 3am- we were all knackered. He came and joined us around the heater and we just chatted for about twenty minutes. Talk about surreal... yes, there was certainly that moment where I panicked a bit internally (do you really think there’s any way he could stand 6 inches from me and I wouldn’t swoon internally??), but slowly, very slowly, I realized he’s just a guy, he’s at work, we were both cold, slightly bored by the current lack of action, and in his case, wiped out from 45 days of filming in crazy conditions. We chatted easily about all manner of things (some are rather un-bloggable), but not about my work, as I didn’t want to impose on his relaxing time and turn into That Crazy Person…. so I just talked with him normally. I do wish I’d have been able to chat with him about being away from the
So it was lovely to meet Rob Pattinson. He’s an easy-going, amusing guy. He’s certainly focused on his work, but doesn’t seem to be ruled by it. He was mulling over his future activities, jobs, possibilities, and all of them sounded lovely but he didn’t feel the need to pin down what would be perfect for him at this minute or what would be the best for his career. He’s just a guy in his early 20’s, and like a lot of us, he just seems to be going with the flow and seeing how things figure themselves out and trying to have as much fun as he can in the process.
The night/morning went on, and soon it was evident that the action was winding down (it was about 5am, and believe it or not, there were still a few dedicated fans on the corner!), as the trees were removed, signs taken down and lights extinguished. Of course I was hesitant to leave as I really didn’t want any of this experience to end, but, alas, it had to. As much as I wanted to camp out in video village for a few more weeks and keep absorbing all of the information around me, they were packing up, and I still had over an hour to drive home. I returned my cherished cans, sought out Greg, Wyck and Gillian and thanked them profusely for all of their time, honesty and kindness on the set. I’m not sure if it’s in their job description to be that kind, but they went above and beyond anything that I had been expecting. I already can’t wait to hear about their upcoming adventures involving the marketing, editing, scoring and promoting of Twilight… not to mention the work that should begin soon on New Moon.
(EDIT: Apparently that last comment was misleading... there is nothing confirmed yet for New Moon. Everyone seems to be thinking about it (how could they not?), and they're hoping to start writing this summer, and start filming sometime in the spring; but the rights haven't even been settled yet and Stephenie Meyer is slightly busy with The Host release... so no confirmation about it yet!)
But just to leave you hanging… I do still have more things coming! I got into a couple of great conversations with Wyck about adaptations and Greg about film budgets and how that can affect the overall integrity of a film (cough Eragon cough), but they will have to be topics explored more thoroughly later… so stay tuned for that!
Comment away! The more action on the blog, the more it gets me thinking and producing additional information!
Check out all of my webshots from the day in Forks/Vernonia here.
Sorry there aren’t a lot of them; that whole ‘no flash’ rule plus most of the filming being inside moving cars or inside buildings didn’t allow for a lot of photo taking!