With the origin stories and world building already taken care of in the first installment, sequel The Twilight Saga: New Moon was free to hit the ground running and really start to establish the bigger plot and themes of the series.
Very early on in the movie, Edward Cullen-- believing his presence to be a danger to Bella Swan-- and his family relocate, sending Bella into a spiral of depression and also into the comforting arms of Jacob. Here is where the whole Team Edward vs Team Jacob dynamic first comes into play in a real way, thus laying down the first major source of conflict for the franchise. This is followed by the introduction of a bigger world of vampires and werewolves outside of just that core love triangle, with the movie exploring the entire cultures of both of those warring factions and even taking the events of the film international, well beyond the dreary confines of small town Forks, Washington.
In expanding the scope of the franchise, New Moon faced a lot of interesting challenges behind the scenes as well. Directors and filming locations changed, new characters joined, old actors were threatened with replacement, and a "wolf camp" was attended. The record-breaking success of the movie means that all of those challenges were not only conquered but worth the trouble, but it's always fascinating to look at the many moving parts of a huge tent pole movie and how difficult it can be to keep those parts working together.
Here are 20 Wild Details Behind The Making Of Twilight: New Moon.
20 Kristen Stewart's Computer-Assisted Eye Color
Sometimes, more minor physical details about a book character are glossed over or changed when said character is adapted to movie form. Things like hair and eye color, for instance, are often seen as easy to alter when selecting an actor-- but other times, everything has to be just right. Such was the case when the naturally green-eyed Kristen Stewart took on the role of brown-eyed Bella Swan, as she wore contacts to make her eyes brown-- at least in her pre-vampiric state.
That said, colored contact lenses can cause a lot of issues. An example of this occurred during Bella and Jacob's sad scene in the rain during New Moon, with the rain irritating Stewart's contacts to the point that she couldn't wear them. For that scene, her eyes had to be re-colored in post-production, which is costly and time-consuming.
19 Lucy Hale and Diego Luna Were Almost In It
Movies are rarely cast with all of the filmmakers' first choices for each role, and it's obviously also rare that everyone who wants a role in a movie gets one. The Twilight Saga has a pretty long list of actors who were almost in the series, but New Moon in particular has some interesting ones.
Perhaps the biggest name that was up for a part in New Moon but didn't get it was Pretty Little Liars' Lucy Hale, who was in the running to play Jane of the Volturi before the role ultimately went to Dakota Fanning. Prior to Michael Sheen signing on to play Aro, both Diego Luna (Rouge One, Milk) and Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian, Netflix's The Punisher) were on the shortlist of actors being considered for the important role.
18 Taylor Lautner Was Almost Recast
In the first Twilight movie, Jacob-- played by Taylor Lautner-- was supposed to be kind of a scrawny, shy teenager. The role didn't require an actor with impressive body mass. Jacob was supposed to make a major physical transition between Twilight and New Moon, going from a gangly teenager to a buff young adult-- and apparently the filmmakers didn't think Lautner was going to be able to hack it.
So doubtful were they that Lautner wouldn't be able to make himself physically imposing enough to play the new version of Jacob that they considered replacing him entirely, with the primary front-runner being Michael Copon (The Scorpion King 2). Lautner wasn't willing to give up the coveted role, and surprised everyone when he added over 30 pounds of muscle in record time, giving himself the necessary bulk to ensure his job security.
17 Anna Kendrick's improv
Actor Anna Kendrick's star had already been rising by 2008, but there's no doubt that her appearance in Twilight that year is what pushed her over the line into major mainstream recognition. Only a year later, she would receive her first Academy Award nomination for her work in Up In The Air alongside George Clooney.
Kendrick has earned a positive reputation for her strong improv skills, most notably put to use in the Pitch Perfect films. New Moon's director must have already been aware of that talent, as he allowed Kendrick to improvise heavily for the movie-- including almost all of her dialogue for the scene where she and Kristen Stewart are leaving the movie theater and discussing zombie films.
16 It Broke A Record Previously Held By The Dark Knight
Thanks to the incredible drawing power of Star Wars and the MCU, there are currently three movies that have single-day domestic box office grosses of over $100 million. Back when The Dark Knight surpassed $67 million in a single day way back in 2008, it set a new record and was almost unheard of at the time.
Which makes it an even bigger deal that New Moon broke that record, when it brought in $72.7 million on its opening day. As the numbers stand today, Dark Knight ranks all the way down at #27 on the all-time list of single-day earners, and New Moon's take has since been surpassed by 12 other movies-- but no other Twilight films. For a YA adaptation to break a record held by Dark Knight was still a really big deal.
15 Robert Pattinson Wouldn't Wax His Eyebrows
The Twilight movies get a lot of gaff for the supposedly feminine appearance of Edward and the other vampires. Sun sparkling aside-- which was significantly downplayed after the first movie-- anyone who derides the Twilight film series on the basis of effeminate vampires clearly knows very little about how vampires have always been portrayed in popular fiction.
With that in mind, however, Robert Pattinson didn't fully fault people for feeling that way about his physical appearance as Edward-- because he agreed. In particular, he felt that his overly-waxed eyebrows in the first movie were too much, and for both appearances and for his own avoidance of pain, he refused to have them waxed from New Moon onward-- the result of which is extremely apparent when you look back at his Twilight eyebrows vs his New Moon ones.
14 The Drowning Scene Scared Everyone
It was one of the most-used shots of New Moon's marketing-- Bella appearing to sink to her doom in the depths of a body of water. It is definitely a breathtaking shot, and one that involved some clever camera trickery. It was almost done more organically-- until someone else tried it out first.
The original plan was to have Kristen Stewart wear weights that would sink her to the bottom of a pool, at which point she could just remove the weights and swim up to safety. Stewart refused this plan as it sounded too dangerous, prompting director Chris Weitz to demonstrate it for the cast and crew. He was barely to the bottom before he panicked and quickly pulled off the weights, swam to the surface, and demanded a new plan be put into action, refusing to put Stewart through what he just endured.
13 The Actors Who Played Jacob's Tribe Attended "Wolf Camp" Together
One of the biggest additions to New Moon were the werewolves that Jacob and the rest of his tribe shape-shifted into. While much of the actual time the characters spent as wolves was done via CGI, the actors still needed to be able to embody the essence of being a wolf and living as part of a unified pack.
In order to achieve this, the actors who portrayed the members of the Quileute tribe attended a "wolf camp" together, which served to help them form a close bond and to really feel as though they were part of a pack as close-knit and supportive as a real pack of wolves would be. It also caused them to "[drive] each other to get more buff," according to director Chris Weitz, which makes sense since they spend most of the movie without shirts on.
12 Jamie Campbell Bower was almost Edward instead of Caius
Pro tip for anyone who auditions for parts and doesn't get them-- don't fret, because the casting department might not necessarily forget about you and may keep you in mind for future parts. This is especially true for movies with multiple sequels.
For proof of this, look no further than New Moon. Actor Jamie Campbell Bower was hoping to catch his big break when he auditioned for the role of Edward in Twilight, a part that he obviously didn't end up getting. But producers remembered him, and called him back for New Moon (and beyond) to play Caius. Of course, Bower is also associated with another major fantasy franchise, playing young Gellert Grindewald in both Harry Potter and the Deathtly Hollows -- Part 1 and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald.
11 The Script Was Already Finished By Twilight's Opening Weekend
While there tends to be a lot of hand-wringing when it comes to whether the first installment in a new film franchise is going to be a hit, movie studios are far less reserved when it comes to putting sequels into production once a part one is a proven success. And with New Moon, that happened especially quickly.
In fact, New Moon was greenlit by Summit Entertainment literally the day after Twilight opened. Coincidentally, the first draft of New Moon's script, written by Melissa Rosenberg on the weekends of her day job of writing for Dexter, was also handed in that very weekend. With everything in place, New Moon went into production almost immediately.
10 Michael Sheen Did It For His Daughter
One of the standout performances of New Moon is definitely Michael Sheen's as Aro. Sheen is clearly relishing the excuse to give an intentionally to-the-rafters performance of the powerful vampire leader. He does just about everything a person can do to convey they are in on the joke but look directly at the camera and wink.
Like so many adults who appear in YA-focused properties, Sheen took the role in New Moon primarily because his daughter, Lily Mo Beckinsale-Sheen-- whose mother is actress Kate Beckinsale-- was such a big fan of the Twilight books. In fact, Sheen relied entirely on his then-eight-year-old daughter to tell him all about the character he'd be playing, and Sheen says that pretty much everything he used in his performance came from what Lily Mo told him about Aro.
9 My Chemical Romance Refused To Contribute A Song
New Moon's soundtrack brought together a number of heavy-hitters from across multiple genres, and included both big, major label artists and those on the more indie end of the spectrum. It is also notable in that every single artist-- which included The Killers, Muse, OK Go, Death Cab For Cutie, and Radiohead's Thom Yorke, among others-- contributed a song or at least a version of a song recorded specifically for the New Moon soundtrack, which was certified Gold and/or Platinum in six countries.
However, emo/pop-punk band My Chemical Romance declined to contribute their music to New Moon's soundtrack, despite multiple requests to do so. According to lead singer Gerard Way, their music simply "didn't fit" with the film. That's kind of strange coming from a band with a song called "Vampires Will Never Hurt You" in their back catalogue.
8 The Director Did It As A Favor
By most accounts, director Catherine Hardwicke had a positive experience with her cast, crew, and the studio in making Twilight. It seemed a given that she would come along for the next installment, and she was offered the job-- but declined when she disagreed with the very tight shooting schedule the studio had put on New Moon in order to get it out as soon as possible.
Now needing to find a director to helm a major Hollywood sequel in a limited amount of time, producer Wyck Godfrey reached out to his friend Chris Weitz, director of such movies as About A Boy and The Golden Compass. Weitz agreed to take on the job in part as a favor to his friend, but also as an apparent fan of the source material.
7 The Significance of the Color Red
Although we don't always consciously notice it-- and often that is by design-- filmmakers put a lot of thought into the colors that are used in a movie. After noting that the previous movie had mostly cooler tones, director Chris Weitz wanted to go in the opposite direction for his take on the franchise.
Not only did New Moon skew much warmer visually, with a lot of gold-like colors, but the color red played a huge part in the film. According to New Moon's DVD commentary, red was specifically downplayed or muted for most of the film, and saved for the Italy scenes where there was an explosion of vibrant red. The significance of the color red to the home base of the entire vampire race shouldn't need any explanation, and the effect of all those red robes in the Italy scene is striking.
6 The Very Particular Casting Of the Quileute Tribe Members
Besides having to go to wolf camp together, the actors who played the rest of the Quileute tribe-- save for Taylor Lautner-- had another very specific, very important thing that bonded them all.
New Moon casting director Rene Haynes specializes in casting Native roles for films and television, also having done so for movies such as The Revenant, Cowboys & Aliens, and Dances with Wolves. She used her experience in casting New Moon's wolf pack, putting out a casting call that specifically asked for "first nation/aborginal actors" and required all perspective members of New Moon's Quileute tribe to provide official documentation of that fact in order to ensure authenticity. For what it's worth, Taylor Lautner also claims to be at least partially of Native ancestry.
5 Filming Was Moved From Portland To Vancouver
Twilight was filmed in Portland, Oregon due to its geographical similarity to Forks-- but for New Moon, production moved to Vancouver, which presented some challenges as many key locations in Twilight were shot in existing buildings that were now over 300 miles away. The filmmakers had to get creative.
While they found a new school to stand in for Forks High School, they had to use green screen to recreate the exterior of the Portland high school where Twilight was filmed. In other cases, various other buildings and rooms had to simply be built from the ground up in parking lots and on sound stages to match their look from Twilight, sometimes literally just using the Blu-ray version of Twilight as a visual guide.
4 It Was Edited In The Backseat Of A Car
The magic of computers has made our lives much easier, both in terms of work and play. In particular, the portability of computers has also led to an increase in the convenience of being able to work anywhere. Even in the back seat of a car, apparently.
A funny anecdote revealed during New Moon's DVD commentary was that editor Peter Lambert-- who has also worked on Children of Men, Love Actually, and this year's Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again-- edited a large chunk of the movie while sitting in the back of the car that took him to and from the set of both New Moon and 2008's Body of Lies, where he was an assistant editor.
3 Dakota Fanning played Jane so she could be near Kristen Stewart
The Volturi in general played a prominent role in the Twilight films following their introduction in New Moon, but one of the biggest was Jane, played by Dakota Fanning. As big as the role was, it's interesting that she had an ulterior motive for taking the part that had more to do with a different movie altogether.
Having already been cast alongside Kristen Stewart for the then-upcoming biopic The Runaways about the titular all-girl punk band, Fanning decided that the two being in New Moon together would be a great way to help build some much-needed rapport ahead of that "other" movie. She signed on to New Moon primarily just to be able to spend more time with Stewart both on screen and off to strengthen their bond in their future roles as Joan Jett and Cherie Curie.
2 Noot Seear's Wasted Tanning Sacrifice
Noot Seear is primarily a model, having worked on advertising campaigns for major companies including Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, and Rolex. She was also the face of fragrances by both Calvin Klein and Vera Wang. Seear has dabbled in acting as well, with a handful of small roles on various television shows and in a few movies-- including New Moon.
Even though Seear's role in New Moon-- Volturi member Heidi-- was a small one, she took it very seriously and decided to forgo tanning for two months prior to filming in order to appear as pale as possible to play a vampire. While that dedication was admirable, it was all for naught, as Seear's skin had to be painted white each day before filming anyway.
1 Kristen Stewart Was Genuinely Afraid Of Jackson Rathbone
The scene that sets into motion most of the events of New Moon occurs during Bella's 18th birthday party, when she accidentally cuts her finger and sends vampire Jasper into a thirsty rage. If you found yourself frightened of actor Jackson Rathbone in that moment, you weren't the only one-- Kristen Stewart was right there with you.
Rathbone wanted that scene to be as believable-- and scary-- as possible, and instructed his co-stars to physically restrain him with all their might as he tried with his full strength to come at Stewart. Rathbone got so into the moment that he knocked one of his co-stars to the floor, and had Stewart later admitting that she was genuinely afraid that Rathbone was going to break free and actually attack her. Talk about method acting!
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