3/17/2009

Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner bring 'Twilight' to Japan


"Twilight" mania has undoubtedly spread around the world. In February 2009, the three most popular stars of the film — Robert Pattinson (who plays vampire Edward Cullen), Kristen Stewart (Edward’s human girlfriend, Bella) and Taylor Lautner (who plays Jacob Black, Bella’s close friend who’s also in love with her) — continued their international promotion of the 2008 "Twilight" movie by holding a press conference in Tokyo for a select number of journalists and fans.

In contrast to the "Twilight" panel at the 2008 Comic-Con International event(attended by a screaming crowd of thousands), the press conference at Tokyo’s Ebisu Garden Place was like being in a church: quiet and respectful. (And that subdued atmosphere has a lot to do with Japanese culture, which discourages shouting and screaming at public events.) With the help of Japanese translators, Pattinson, Stewart and Lautner took questions from the audience, and then the three stars posed for photos. Pattinson and Stewart still seemed somewhat uncomfortable with their celebrity status, as they fidgeted during questions and often looked down as they were talking, but Lautner (the youngest of the three) was calm and poised during the press conference. Here’s what they had to say:

How much input did "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer have in how you played your characters in the movie?

Lautner: I think the biggest advice from Stephenie was to follow Jacob’s character from the book, because that’s what the fans love and that’s what we wanted to stay true to. I read the book several times, and that’s what we wanted to stay true to for the fans.

Stewart: I have to stay likewise. Everything was there in the book. Stephenie actually didn’t have a chance to spend too much time on the set, besides just visits that were fun for her to come meet everybody and see how the whole process works. Other than that, we didn’t have creative discussions. Everything is very much in the book.

Pattinson: Stephenie was very generous in allowing us to have free reign over the material. She gave her approval in the beginning and basically allowed us to do whatever we felt like doing, I guess. It’s a very different process. She had never really worked in film before, I guess. She allowed us to do our thing, and I really appreciated it.

What do you think about the comparison between "Harry Potter" series and the "Twilight’ series?

Pattinson: The main difference in "Twilight" and "Harry Potter" is "Harry Potter" is set over this entire fantastical universe, whereas "Twilight’ is such an intimate story, and it’s really only about three people. Until the later books, there’s very little mention of fantasy, lore or anything like that. It’s much more about sexuality and sensuality as well, which I don’t think comes up that much in "Harry Potter."

How did you prepare for the role? Robert, you went into seclusion. Did you enjoy that?

Pattinson: I did just kind of keep myself to myself, I guess … Did I want to talk to anyone? No, not really. It’s quite nice. It’s very difficult to get an opportunity to close yourself away from everything for a long time. It helps on the concentration. I actually enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to doing it for "New Moon."

Stewart: As far as preparation, Bella wasn’t a massive departure. It wasn’t like I was playing a really distinct character that was far from myself. One thing I wanted to be mindful of is that I’m quite nervous and fidgety, and she has a much more steady energy than I do, which is interesting because when she meets Edward, she’s sort of thrown off. She’s quite steady then all of a sudden when she meets him, she doesn’t know what to do with herself.

Reading the book and spending time with this guy [Robert Pattinson] and getting on the same page on what it feels like to touch a vampire and what they smell like and what I smell like and how close they have to be to feel each other energy.

Lautner: For me, a lot of the preparation came from just reading the book, because that’s the source material … Also for me, Jacob is from the Quileute tribe, so I met with some real Quileute tribal members and got to have some discussions and learn some things, especially with kids my age so I could. But I did have a lot more preparation involved for "New Moon."

Why do you think vampires are in so appealing in pop culture?

Pattinson: I guess I should probably answer that. There are certainly different reasons. I don’t know how popular gothic fiction was thousands of years ago, but I didn’t realize how many actual fans there were now. People are very, very passionate about how vampires are portrayed as well, which is really bizarre to me … Definitely what I thought of "Twilight," the appeal of it, was having this demi-god, all-powerful creature which is actually dependent on humans. I don’t know if it’s a random way of saying it. But they’re always equated with sensuality because you have to bite those necks. They’re all about charisma. I don’t really know. I’m just kind of rambling. [He laughs.]

Stewart: One thing that occurred to me recently was ... but for some people — not everybody — are very afraid of change. It’s a very desirable thing to think you can be this perfect thing forever. Literally, nothing changes, the look of you, anything. I think that’s wrong. Even in our story, it proves to be wrong. This 108-year-old vampire that has been very consistently the same is all of a sudden, his whole is turned upside down. So maybe that’s a desirable thing: You never have to change; you can be perfect forever. But I don’t even think that’s even true for vampires.

Lautner: I think Rob is the best person to ask that question, because based on all the girls’ reactions, he just did a fine job of making a sexy vampire come to life.

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