Twilight author Stephenie Meyer chats with fans on Music and Muse The Villainous Volturi
Elysa: Well yes, naturally. But—
Kallie: Foreign rockstars.
Elysa: What I like so much is that you can’t…there’s a great sense of ambiguity there in a lot of ways. They’re clearly the enemy and you’re clearly afraid of them but there’s a sort of reverence as well and especially because, in some ways as humans, you have to kind of respect a little bit that they prevent things, like Seattle, from happening all the time. So I love them for that reason, also because I think a lot of villains, whether it’sHarry Potter or Star Wars and other big franchises, you can tell by looking at them you know what I mean?
SM: Monsters. They look ugly. Zombies coming at you.
Elysa: Exactly! It’s like that’s expected and you know…
SM: Although there’s a book that’s gonna come out I think next year called Warm Bodies that will change zombies for you forever so—
Meghan: For the rest of your life.
SM: For the rest of your life. You’ll never look at them and not be like—
Meghan: Go get it.
SM: It’s not out yet. It’s by Isaac Marion, and it’ll change zombies for you forever.
Matt: Is it a series?
Meghan: It’s a stand-alone. He has a website and he has up some of his other stuff. Plug for Isaac!
SM: I mean it’s funny because I always use zombies as an example like how monsters you’re supposed to be able to look at…And see that’s…I find it so much more frightening when you can’t tell. You know because it’s like I never really got scared over monster movies and I found I didn’t watch a lot of horror, the ones that scared me were like psycho because he looks like a nice guy and that’s when you don’t know. And that’s the scary thing because you walk out of your house and there isn’t a dinosaur about to eat you but there is a guy right over there and what if he’s a psychopath? And I’ve always been fascinated with appearances because evil doesn’t appear evil, it doesn’t. It’s clean and shiny and pretty. The Volturi are kind of, they’re villains that got to have 3,000 years to refine themselves into [this] perfect powerful presence, and they’re fun. It’s fun to show vampires at the very pinnacle of that power, although they’re not really at the…They are very dark but you know you have a whole different kind. You kind of figure with vampires the whole, like the more wild and blood-thirsty, but this is just such a controlling and patient kind of evil.
Elysa: That’s what creeps me out!
SM: The patience is…Well and one thing, Aro in particular, the really really darkest thing for me about him is that he can honestly love someone and still kill them if it gets in his way; like his sister who he honestly loved, who was like the most important person in his world, but she got in the way of his ambition and he could kill her and grieve her but grieve over what he had done but still do it because that was okay to him in his world. And when you can do that, when you can cross that line—shivers.
Elysa: Yeah, yeah.
Matt: Do you have a question?
Elysa: No, I just wanted to fangirl a bit.
Matt: Oh, okay!
SM: You know who you should read? My favorite villains, like the scariest villains I’ve ever read, have any of you read Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman? [Croup] and [Vandemar], Oh. My. Gosh!
Elysa: What’s the name of this?
SM: It’s called Neverwhere, and it’s by Neil Gaiman, who’s one of my favorite like geniuses, and he has these bad guys [Croup] and [Vandemar], I’ve never read anyone so terrifying in my life. They’re so good. So good!
Elysa: Maybe there is a question to be salvaged from all of this. Did you always know the Volturi went to visit Victoria before?
SM: Yes, because in the story, when Alice has the vision, they give her four days and I always knew that there was an impetus that they had met up that she had to make a decision because Victoria’s would’ve been to be like: “Now. Let’s go.” You know? No thought. That’s how she was planning to roll. Get them ready kind of get there and they’re like now we run and so that they have maybe, at most, an hour to get to her. Four days was really an exorbitant amount of time and that was the Volturi’s fault because Jane was tired of waiting and so she went and said, “You have to do something already.” Victoria was making a huge mess.
Elysa: I think you might’ve touched on this before a little bit earlier, but you said that sometimes Jane does act on her own a little bit.
SM: This is really kind of a…I mean, Aro is very controlling. He is the pinnacle and he has all the power and so he calls the shots but in this specific case knowing with Alice he has to deviate from the pattern and so he let Jane make her…You know he said, “Go out.” And not even specifically about them because Alice could see that, you know just “Jane, I think that you are very much fantastic and I want you to go out and take care of things in the world that need to be taken care of on your own. I think you can make your own decisions.” And Jane is like: “Ah, I know what this is about.” And so she goes out there and she knows it’s her mission. She knows it’s about the Cullens. She knows that she has to effect some kind of progress there, but how to do it. So yeah that’s Jane. You could write a story about Jane through [that] month of frustration and all the stuff she was trying to do and not screwing up so that when she came home Aro didn’t decide “maybe I don’t need someone who can burn people.”
Elysa: Do you think…
Kallie: Go ahead! That was what we were gonna ask so that’s good.
Matt: We have a while.
Elysa: Okay. Does…I always was under the impression that Jane hated Bella more than anyone and then we read Bree and apparently she really hates Alice .
SM: Well think about it, Aro this whole time…Aro is the one person of significance in her life, besides Alec, but Aro is the one that she always wants to be the favorite of.
Matt: Like the new baby.
SM: Yeah. Well but I mean they’ve had a relationship for years. She is his prize. She is his jewel. He is unstoppable because of her. Alec obviously is a big part in that too but there’s a very strong relationship there and now he’s found a shinier jewel than her, and if she could kill Alice she’d do it in a heartbeat. But she knows that that would, I mean she’d be in real trouble then. So she hates Alice . Bella’s just annoying, someone who doesn’t cringe in pain? How dare she! But Alice —
(chatter and laughter)
SM: Alice is a problem for her, a big problem. You know that when it came down to the fight if… Jane would’ve been hopeful that Alice would’ve gone out. And you know, how frustrating Aro gets there and Alice isn’t there and it’s like: “Oh crap.” And Jane’s sitting there like: “She’s not gonna die?” And Aro knows exactly how she feels and he’s able to play that to his benefit ‘cause he’s sick!
SM: He is sick, but lovely, and Michael Sheen…You know I—
SM: We kicked around a lot of names with that, right? And Michael Sheen was Chris’ [Weitz] choice and you know I hadn’t…Frost/Nixon? He’s a great actor but I couldn’t see him in it.
Fansite: Oh Lucian, so hot!
SM: Well see, I hadn’t seen the Underworld things and so I was just like: “Uh, I don’t know. I kind of had a different mental image and I had this actor or that actor that I wanted” and he talked me into it. First day I saw him on set I went up to Chris and I said, “Thank you so much. You were right, I was wrong. I will listen to you forever because you were so right on that one.”
SM: It was like acting class to watch him go in there. Every single take he did something different, he did a slightly different thing. Always, of course, lines perfect. He would never [make a] mistake but he gave them something different for the director to pull from and he’s so great. He’s a really interesting guy. He’s so much fun to talk to.
Fansite: My husband thinks I’m crazy for all this. When he heard that Michael Sheen was [in New Moon] he was like: “Oh, maybe this isn’t as crazy as I thought.”
SM: He is so great, and it’s one of the reasons I love that movie is because I love watching him work. Every time he comes on it’s just like: “Say something more!”
SM: And I hate that Jamie Campbell Bower did not get as many lines he had originally.
SM: ‘Cause he is chilling.
Kallie: He’s brilliant.
SM: He actually tried out for Demetri.
Kallie: Oh really?
SM: And he was too scary for Demetri, we were watching it. There was another guy that…You know Demetri is supposed to be, Charlie [Bewley] was sort of the in between, Demetri is supposed to be smoother and like kind of calm people down, but then of course movie people don’t want to ever have somebody that’s a peacemaker they want all the tension. So Charlie was scary, but not as scary as Jamie. Jamie was chilling and then his face takes the makeup like nobody else, he has no pores! His face is perfect. And he looked, you know he got in the makeup and every line he delivered had so much weight and you’re just like: “More. More please.” Caius needs a story. We need to see more of it. A whole thing with him and Michael Sheen just let’s go! Well Marcus too, who also… Chris [Heyerdahl] just creepy. He just did this thing where he sounded like he had 500 years of dust in his throat. It was crazy.