Twilight Saga: Eclipse–Interview with Director David Slade

David Slade is the director of "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner. The film is being released on June 30 by Summit Entertainment.

A Directorial Challenge


“What attracted me to this project was that it is a great story and a tremendous challenge for me as a filmmaker. I don’t like doing the same thing over and over again, because I learn from being challenged. On one level this was the biggest challenge out there – to make a film of this scope, in this amount of time, and to go into a different genre essentially. Yes, I've done a vampire film, but Eclipse is a very different kind of thing. This is a romantic story, which swings from a darker more abject feeling to very pure romantic scenes. To do very emotional scenes was a huge challenge and fun and a way to grow. But most importantly, I'm always looking for a great story and now, having read all of the books, Eclipse is my favorite story. So I think we're blessed with the best story, and directors like good stories cause we know that most of our job is done already,” laughs Slade. 


Eclipse is one of the broader stories. I think that New Moon was very sophisticated in its involvement of emotions between the three characters,” comments Slade. “But what I wanted to do with Eclipse, because it had so many larger scale stories, was to go for a more cinematic approach to the film. Eclipse is packed with story and a lot of epic things that happen. It's a big thick book. So, I felt that this particular film had to have a really cinematic edge to it.”


Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg


“If I’m going to shoot a certain way, it's important to, wherever possible, write it into the script. I would show my storyboards to Melissa and she would incorporate those storyboards into the writing,” says Slade. “ Sometimes we'd talk about character and the specifics of ideas and back story. Melissa has a tremendous understanding of story and character, and she is just really fast and smart, really got an idea very quickly when I’d be trying to describe something aesthetically. Then we'd all get on the phone with Stephenie Meyer and run these ideas by her

and she’d give us great insight. Melissa was really a great brainstorming partner to get this epic story told. When we received Stephenie's approval, we felt like that's the last word on the subject, because this is her universe.” 


The Characters


“Edward is a good ideal for the pure true love that does exist in the world. Then Jacob is this more human love, which has flaws and faults, but it's still honest,” says director David Slade. “I think one of the things that is so attractive about these stories is that they do postulate the idea of true love in a culture where it's not very common. True love's a wonderful thing and sadly it's not been hugely abundant and apparent, especially in the media. But, it is difficult to make a great story out of something as simple as pure love, because usually, great stories come from great conflicts. What Stephenie's done so cleverly is make a great conflict, but not at the expense of true love, which is one of the reasons I personally believe these films and these books are so universally successful and popular.”


“We have the idea that love is dangerous, and vampires are dangerous too, but let’s make them somehow acceptable and let’s make them good. Let’s make them aspirational,” adds Slade. “Let’s allow our female protagonists to have choices. Again, I think these things are not common. The saga empowers the female protagonist to not have sex and for that to be okay.  That isn't to say that sex is bad, but it is to say that there could be a natural rhythm to a relationship that’s okay. I think that also it’s very attractive to the people who read these books and I find that to be culturally very healthy. After all we are living in a culture where women are

very overtly sexualized, particularly young women.”


“There's a lot of talk about Bella's choice in this film, that her choice is going to have

consequences, and of course it is. You do not come back from this choice. If you make the choice to become immortal, you do not become mortal again. It's one of the more extreme choices that a character in a fantasy story could choose. The story positions Bella to have to transform to make that choice. This is something that’s easily missed and I think it's important and it's summed up in the closing scene of the film,” says Slade.


“Bella has to emotionally transform to be able to make this choice fully and with all of her heart,” states Slade. “The true love that she has for Jacob, however misguided that love is, it still exists and it creates conflict for her. So this choice has tremendous consequences, but it is possible to make these choices and transform into a different kind of person, a person that can make this choice and live with this choice and this is what ultimately Bella is able to do, but she is only able to do it through going through this story. At the end, she understands that she has faced

all of these dangers and done it easily, and it surprised her. So she comes to this conclusion that she belongs in Edward’s world, much more so than she belongs in the human world. I think that makes it easier for her to make that choice – in fact, it makes it impossible for her not to make that choice.”


The actors


Slade found the individual rehearsal time with actor of paramount importance. “We're talking about lots and lots of characters in Eclipse and there's a certain degree of inheritance, history that is honored. A lot of actors means a lot of rehearsal and individual attention,” explains Slade. “As a director, I try and see every actor individually. In the early stages of pre-production, I would meet each actor on a regular basis and talk about each scene. For example, Peter Facinelli could tell me about how important the scarves are to his character and why. I want to be fully aware of whatever the little detail is that each actor brings.”


“Essentially I block each scene out with each actor s
eparately, so when we come together as an ensemble, it makes it much fresher because everybody has a different point of view and the truth of the scene will just arise,” adds Slade. “I think it would be a folly to treat the Cullens as one thing – they're all individual characters. So, I spoke with each one about their characters, their interactions with other characters, what they like, and what they disliked about them.”


Slade says, “I thoroughly enjoyed the story and it gave us great insight and inspired

location choices and the tailoring of scenes. I think fans are going to love the fascinating details involved in the loves, fears and actions of an emerging vampire.”


Unique Universe


“The Twilight universe is completely unique. I cannot think of anything like this really,” says Slade. “The phenomenon is so huge and so disarmingly unlike what you'd expect, there really isn't a parallel. I came into this film not really understanding that. To a degree, it hadn't yet reached critical mass at that point. I don't think anybody could be prepared really for it as a filmmaker. When I was in talks to direct Eclipse and New Moon hadn't come out, we knew it was a huge big thing. But when New Moon came out, it just exploded in ways that I couldn't have possibly have imagined.”