01 May, 2008

Twilight Set, Day Two: St. Helen's OR, Port Angeles scenes


Twilight Set Day Two: St. Helen’s OR- Port Angeles scenes

Unlike the day before, my second day on the set of Twilight was gorgeous- bright blue skies, a light breeze, and a very welcoming and maneuverable setup situated around the town square of St. Helen’s Oregon, which was doubling as Port Angeles for the day. The town itself is a great location for Port Angeles. Of course it looks slightly different, but it held the same small-town atmosphere that I felt in the real Port Angeles. It’s about a 45 minute drive outside of Portland and on the water. The main street is mostly antique shops with a shoe repair place, a movie theater, a hair salon and one or two cafes as well.

When I arrived around noon they were filming the dress shopping scene with Jessica and Angela. Of course the weather once again wasn’t working for them; while it was gorgeous, it was supposed to be a rainy day in Port Angeles, so a mammoth water truck sprayed the street down every fifteen minutes or so to make it look as though it had just rained. It was close quarters inside for this scene, so I watched from outside. The store, actually a hair salon, had been transformed into a small town dress shop, again, not far from what I was picturing for dress shopping in Port Angeles. There were a few racks of prom gowns, accessories, dress-clad mannequins and the cast lounging around between takes. During this scene, Bella is sitting in the window while admiring Jessica and Angela’s dresses and the Frat Boys make an appearance, banging on the window and harassing Bella- further proof that they are pig-headed imbeciles. It was the Frat Boys’ final scene, so once “cut” was yelled on their bugging action, they received a round of applause from the cast and crew and signed off of their Twilight experience.

The next scene was shot down the street- the infamous restaurant scene where Edward spills some of his secrets while Bella forces down mushroom ravioli (again, I felt such sympathy for Kristen Stewart… I have no idea how much ravioli she had to eat, but I’m sure it was more than she wished for!). Setting up the scene took quite some time as it was still daylight but they wanted to give the appearance of evening. All of the windows were covered in black cloth, white Christmas lights were strung over the trellis and the surrounding trees, and a big wooden toad sat on a stump next to the sign proclaiming the restaurant as “The Bloated Toad.” So it was no Bella Italia as it was in the book, I’m not sure why the change to “The Bloated Toad,” but it still looked just as I thought it should. One of the set dressers said they just found the carved, wooden toad on their travels and thought it was great and had to use it. I guess that’s as good of a reason as any to name your fictitious restaurant after an ill amphibian!

Once again I stayed on the periphery at first and tried to observe, but stay out of the way. The nice thing was that there always seemed to be a few people doing just what I was doing, and it was pleasant and easy to start a conversation with them. A woman standing next to me asked how I was involved, I told her my story of my studies and how they were nice enough to have me on set for a few days, and she told me that she was Catherine Hardwicke’s sister, Irene, and that she, her husband Lance and her mother Jamie were all on set that day watching Catherine work (Catherine is the director- IMDB her, she’s amazing). They were absolutely lovely. They are funny, friendly, they enjoyed every aspect of the experience as I did, and after about forty five minutes I felt like I was with my own family. We took some pictures, wandered the town a bit, and then headed to the catering tent for lunch. While enjoying our gourmet meal and chatting about the striking good looks of Rob Pattinson at the next table, Catherine herself came over to chat with the family. Irene introduced me to her with great gusto and Catherine was so gracious and enthusiastic. I definitely got the feeling that she is the kind of creative artist who can see the whole picture of everything around her but is able to focus intently and specifically whenever it is required. She asked me a few questions, and then summed up her thoughts about the adaptation of Twilight. She said that in one way, the film takes you further than the book does. She said “we can take you up in the trees and actually show you all of that crazy beautiful stuff. It takes you on a ride.” Like Wyck told me yesterday, she emphasized that this was a very contained book, as most of it was internal, in Bella’s mind. “With The Lord of the Rings you have this huge kingdom at your disposal. Forks isn’t naturally like that, so we expanded all of the action to bring it out, to make it more visual.” She added a few scenes and tweaked existing ones to make it more visual and have this 2D media translate to the screen, but all while focusing on the story and never straying far from the original work.

After this unexpected but extremely welcome interview, Catherine and Irene went on a hunt for the perfect mini-lamp to light Bella and Edward’s dinner table. After procuring said lamp and spray painting the bulb to the correct level of dimness, the scene was nearly ready to begin filming. I made my way to ‘video village’ which is a bank of monitors with director’s chairs set up to watch the filming that was going on inside. Ironically, the actors don’t really use the chairs, so I sat in Rob Pattinson’s chair for most of the day. The producers handed me a set of cans (headphones) so I could hear the dialogue and then I don’t think I picked my head up for about three hours. I’m afraid I can’t share the dialogue of the scene, but I can say that it was beautiful, their tones and intentions were spot on, Bella’s incredulous expressions were perfect and Edward’s eyes smoldered as they should. And the perfect mini-lamp looked perfect.

I’m a big fan of video village. It’s certainly exciting to watch the scene filmed live, but I also greatly enjoyed watching the scene as it would look on the screen. How the camera is angled, how it catches their eyes, and how people and props are strategically placed to frame the shot exactly as they want it framed. The cans were also great because not only could I hear the dialogue, but also the chatter between takes. The talk between Rob and Kristen, the comments by Catherine or Jamie Marshall (assistant director and co-producer), and the instruction, thought, and intent put into each shot before action was called. At one point Rob said, “I felt like I was falling apart during that take…” and Catherine told him, “Then go with it. Fall apart. Fall into her. You are falling so into her, just use that.” And of course the following take was flawless.

Irene, Lance and Jamie joined me in video village for awhile, as well as Gillian Bohrer, the creative executive from Summit Entertainment- the studio behind Twilight. Gillian, like Greg and Wyck, was another fountain of friendly and helpful information. She was eager to share her story, her thoughts on the adaptation and the details of Twilight’s journey from page to screen. I asked all three of them (Wyck, Greg and Gillian) if they ever re-read sections of the book before filming to refresh the scene in their mind and they agreed that like a good student, they try always to keep re-reading; not just to read for the test, but know the material and have it be fresh in their minds all of the time. It isn’t feasible for them to reread all of the time as they have dailies to watch, scripts to go over for the following days filming, and paperwork to complete every night, but they also said that at this point, the script has gone through so much work, and Stephenie Meyer has approved every line of it, that when the time rolls around for filming they can work off of the script alone and know that it still reflects the original work.

After another hour or two in video village, I realized, however, that this group of people really didn’t need to keep re-reading the book to keep it fresh in their minds. They were able to rattle off whole passages from memory, they could complete entire character conversations between them, and the one time there was a discrepancy over an aspect of the book (we got into a debate about the waitress’s hairstyle) the book came out and we found the tell-tale paragraph. Every aspect of this gave me a sense of their commitment to the film. In a video interview recently (I think it was the mtv.com video) Rachel Lefevre, who plays Victoria, said “It’s not enough for any of us that this is just a fun, good-time, vampire romp love story. That’s not enough. We want it to be real,” and you can see that in every member of the cast, crew, and production.

I’m rambling now… so that scene was brilliant. I got some great information, I felt productive and incredibly inspired by the work happening there. They finished the inside shots of Bella and Edward at dinner, and then they moved outside to film the scene where Bella and Edward come to the restaurant just as Jessica and Angela were finishing and Edward offers to get Bella dinner. It was nice to be outside and moving around (it was frigid, so movement and hot tea were very welcome). While I was outside I met some of the Twilight Moms, another Twilight fan site. They were also a friendly bunch and enthusiastic about all that they had seen that day and eager to hear what I had seen too. Also on the sidewalk was probably half the town’s population of St. Helens watching the action. Granted they probably couldn’t see a lot other than a giant crane and lights, but they didn’t seem disappointed.

We passed midnight while gathered around the propane heater (thank god for the propane heater, I think it’s the only reason I still have ten toes) and got the call sheet for the final day of shooting in Oregon. It was going to be an all-night shoot, starting around 4 and most likely not finishing until dawn the next day. Therefore, I drove home, and promptly went to bed, leaving my notes to be typed up the following morning. I think this was my most beneficial day; it gave me all sorts of new insight, stimulus and excitement, plus I felt very welcomed, included, and encouraged by all of these new, interesting, and very friendly people.


Check out all of the pictures here.

I beamed the whole way home, and was eager for the next adventure: an all-night shoot in Vernonia, OR. Up next: scenes with the Volvo and cruiser, unique additions, good conversation, and a crazy ‘extra’ opportunity for yours truly.

41 comments:

Monet said...

Thanks for letting us get to see what you saw. That was an amazing set review and I'm now looking forward to watching the restaurant scene even more than the infamous meadow scene. You rock!

Sexy 08: A New Year's Revolution! said...

Loving this... I have a blog too and I know how much I love comments. I am so jealous of you and what you are studying... God- a brilliant idea. And you got to sit in Rob's seat! Awesome... I think I may like to be your friend :)

Thanks Again for the awesome blog!! I look forward to more!
And feel free to check out mine.

Anonymous said...

What do the stand-ins do? Are they acting out scenes or are they stunt doubles or what? I've never heard of another movie using actor stand-ins unless they are doing stunts. (and these actors do almost all their own stunts) Why would they have stand-ins at the scenes in the Bloated Toad???

Anonymous said...

You're awesome. Thanks so much for letting us see into your experience. Can't wait for the next one!

Lorena said...

awesome!

Kasey said...

Ah i really would like to thatk your for all of this. For taking the time to give your reveiws. I am from the lexicon and it has been really nice being able to read your reveiws. I am glad you are having fun. However i totally jealous of you of course. I hope Rob's chair was comfy. Smiles. Your posts make me feel so0 much better about the movie the more i read the more i love so thank you. and the pics you take are amazing. so again thank you.
YOU ROCK
Love ya
~Kasey aka KaseyHeartEdward on the Twilight Lexicon.

Jen said...

You sat in ROB'S CHAIR?!?!? I am so JEALOUS.

Thank you thank you thank you for posting about this! ILOVEYOU!

*ahem* Fangirly moment over.

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie said...

I love your writing. You make me feel like I'm right there with you watching the action. It must have been so cool to have met Catherine and her family. I too am looking forward to the restaurant scene. When I see the movie I can say "Hey, I saw that on ScullingonSquam's blog:)

Joanne Maria Twilight Mom said...

This is a great story, I teuly enjoyed reading it, felt like I was there. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful reporting again Maggie! One of the biggest things that stikes me about your write ups is the story telling. You write about experiencing a film form the inside out. Its remarkable really. There are so many articles that focus on the aurthor saying...Look at me, look at how cool I am. Instead of...look at this experience that I was able to be apart of for a brief moment in time. You are most definately the latter. Another great one! I look forward to seeing the inside out of what its like to be an inpromtu extra!!! ~Cocoa

Sarah B said...

Thanks for writing this so well...I fell like I was there watching the dinner scene being filmed :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your amazing experiences wiht us!
It sounds like you had a wonderfull time (luuuuucky!), and what you've seen really reassures me that the movie is going to be totally awesome!(not that i had any doubts, :D)
I really can't wait for day three!

toni said...

Amazing. Ramble some more! Love your stories and how more real this whole thing even becomes. Thanks for taking us on your journeys!

Nicholette Jeanne said...

You're awesome! But you probably know that by now. Just don't bloat like that toad! Ha, kidding. The line that caught most of my attention was when Rob said he "almost lost it". Gosh, he should totally lose it and steal Kristen from her boyfriend-and that wouldn't even have to be a challenge. I love you!

Märy said...

Oh my God I'm so jelous. But I'm also very happy for you, and very thankful for sharing all of it with us! Keep up the good work and give Rob a kiss from me ;*

Sanguina said...

Thank you for this, it is always exciting to hear about the dedication the cast and crew have to thsi project. Ramble all you want, we eat up every word!

MamaGuymon said...

Wow this blog is amazing! Thank you so much for it! I definitely have you linked from mine and will be checking in often to see what new interesting tidbits you have to share!

Tracy said...

I just found this site through the TwilightMOMS site. Thanks for all the detailed info about the shooting of Twilight!

I absolutely love what you have chosen to study with both your MA and PhD, but I have a question. What do you intend to do with the degrees once you graduate? I am asking because my son would love to follow in your footsteps, but he would also like to be employed. :)

Roxanne said...

Wow! You are so lucky to have this opportunity! It is my dream to work on the film industry; to be connected like that and see how its made. unfortunately, i live in Canada and im pretty restrict when it comes to film studies. I just dont know what to do or how to accomplish my dream. So for now, ill just stick with reading you posts! Thanks so much for posting this! :)

Cassy said...

omg Maggie YOU ROCK!! Keep reporting, us Twilighters need you!!

sarah said...

Thanks for your very thoughtful posts...and what a way to get your PhD :) The best was being able to listen in on what was going on in each take (and between takes!). My question is simple and reeks horribly of fangirlishness, so you can ignore it if you want. So do Kristen and Robert get on well? You said you were able to hear them talk between takes (oh, to be a fly on the wall!), and of course we should respect their privacy and not actually talk about their conversation. But did you get that chemical vibe from them that now seems "legendary" because so many people have witnessed and talked about it? I'll be a happy camper if you answer, but happy still if you don't. Love Rob and Kristen, but I love your blog more.

Anonymous said...

Maggie my name's Lorna and I worked at Bangor University for 4 years and I stumbled across this post. I'm about to read Twilight - I can't wait.

Diolch am y post cariad

Love Lorna x

nataliecarmen17 said...

That's so exciting! I'm in Portland and I really want to visit the Bloated Toad. I can't seem to find it online or on a map. Would you be kind enough to send me the address? My email is nataliecarmen17@aol.com. Thanks!

Emily said...

Hey,
This blog is really amazing. I've lived in St. Helens all my life so seeing the pictures of my hometown transformed into Port Angeles is just freaky! I absolutly loved the book and was so sad that I didn't get to come down and see the St. Helens scenes. I had no idea how much they filmed here! Thanks for putting this up.
=]

sayonesin said...

lucky!! thank you for putting this up.
do you know what robert meant when he said he was falling apart? because of kristen?
i know this may be too much to ask, but how intense was the chemistry? kristen and robert?

good luck with everything :)

A said...

i'm having a big laugh right now. i live in st. helens and the "dress shop" really is the hair salon that i go to. i'm very excited to see everything i recognize from town in the movie!

Anonymous said...

this was great im reading twilight at the moment and cant put it down and ive nearly finished reading it aswell cant wait for the movie its gonna be great every scene is just how i pictured it in the book
thanks again!!!

Claire said...

Oh man, I was trying to find out where the various scenes were shot. Couldn't believe it when I found out several are actually in and around my family's home town of St Helens.

What I could believe even less.. I was due to visit my grandmother that day, and we always take her out to dinner right downtown, but I cancelled my visit... doh...!

Alison said...

So glad to have just found your blog- and your interesting commentary on the making of TWILIGHT. I find the process of book to movie very interesting.
QUESTION: one apect of the film which I always find irritating is how the waitress is described in the book as being very attractive- and in the movie she sorta looks like a mother with a bad 1970's do. What's up with that??? Is there some motive behind that I don't 'get'? Certainly it wouldn't have been difficult to be true to the book for that point?

Virgínia said...

Hi, Maggie!
I´m Virgínia, from Brazil. I´m very interested in your researches: I studied about "War of the Worlds"´s adaptations and now I´m studying about "Twilight"´s fans. Can we talk about this? My e-mail is virginialevy@gmail.com .
Thank you, and good luck!
Virginia Levy

Boom Truck said...

I love this blog. I am a huge fan of Twilight and extremely interested in the movie making process. Thanks :)

wood chippers said...

The Art Of Film Making, I really Hope is as good as the book. cant wait to see it on tethers

wood chipper said...

I love Twilight!!!

marry said...

Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!
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PhD Dissertation

Sarasota wedding Photography said...

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Bucket Trucks Galore said...

While I enjoyed the insight you provided as to your experience being on the set of such a huge project, I just have one question: Am I the only human on the face of the planet who did NOT like the movie Twilight??? Again, I find it amusing to read about things like this though. I'm so fascinated by the movie industry. If you ever get to be on the set of a Quentin Tarantino film....please look me up and give me all the details!! Tell him I said, "hi!" He'll look at you like, "What? Who the hell are you talking about??"

Used Pole Trailers said...

So much fun reading this! I loved Twilight AND New Moon...hello Taylor Lautner!!

Forestry Trucks said...

This Movies are becoming too cheesy

Used Bucket Truck said...

Very cool movies and an amazing set. I'm pretty jealous you got to have such an amazing time with a major motion picture.

Anonymous said...

Really Gr8 ! Thanks For sharing..