New Moon

Chris Weitz is the director of "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," starring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. The film is released November 20 by Summit.

Director Chris Weitz’s success at adapting books for the screen, including About a Boy and The Golden Compass, made him an obvious choice for this project, says producer Wyck Godfrey. “Chris has a history of helming fantasy films with complex effects as well as intimate character studies, and he works well with young actors. But it is his appreciation of Stephenie Meyer’s books and characters that made him the perfect director for The Twilight Saga: New Moon.

“It was vital for us to really honor Stephenie’s creation and the fans that love the Twilight series,” Godfrey adds. “What we didn’t want to do was take her books and try to reinvent them. Chris fell in love with the books and he knew how to bring the story to life and keep it rooted in reality. That was essential. Even though these are fantasy creatures, the story feels like our world all the time.”

Although Weitz was initially unfamiliar with the novels, he quickly became a fan. “I read the books,” the director says. “Then I went to see the first film with an audience, and I was so jazzed by the extraordinarily deep emotional reaction I saw. When I watch a film, I look for an overwhelming sense of being immersed in a universe, and this was a chance to do that. It’s a bit different from what I’ve done before, but it also draws on some of my experience.”

Weitz realized his foremost responsibility was to be faithful to the books. “I worked very, very hard at making sure things were just right in that sense,” he says. “The first film was such a phenomenon. The books were such a phenomenon. My first job was to respect the love that the fans of the books have for the book, and the love they transferred to the movie. There was no need to completely remake the world. We go different places this time, but we still retain respect for the fans.”

The director consulted the author regularly, even on minor issues, according to Meyer. “He was interested in the smallest things, like can this person wear shoes?” she says. “He checked on all the details. He wanted to make it like the book, and he was very, very cool about that.”

Having the author available was invaluable to Weitz. “With Lord of the Rings, no one could ask Tolkien what he originally had in mind,” says the director. “I could email Stephenie and ask practical questions like, ‘Do Jasper’s powers actually work on Bella?’ as well as larger metaphysical questions. It allowed me to make sure that at all points that we were keeping consistent with the books.”

Meyer appreciates Weitz’s diligence, saying, “He really listens. He’s very quiet and at the same time it’s very clear what he’s looking for. I felt my material was in good hands with him.”