Inside the 'Breaking Dawn' Premiere: Tears, Cheers and the Elephant in the Room
For many in L.A.’s Nokia Theatre on Monday, it was the end of an era.
Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and the rest of the Twilight: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2 cast were joined at the film’s premiere by hundreds of shrieking fans, studio execs, press-hungry actors unrelated to the film and a few cynical journos in the 7,100-seat venue, where the film screened without introduction or fanfare from director Bill Condon or the brass at Summit/Lionsgate.
Heat Vision breakdown
But first, Pattinson and Stewart made statements on the red carpet in a custom-made, emerald green, houndstooth suit by Gucci and see-through, nude Zuhair Murad gown, respectively. The duo arrived at the same time (late, of course), posing for select photos together and for others alongside Twilight series author Stephenie Meyer and co-star Taylor Lautner but offering few hints as to the never-ending "are they or aren't they?" speculation.
As is to be expected at these tentpole premieres, the Twilight trio did very limited press, stopping only for brief group interviews with print reporters and select broadcast outlets. For those fans lucky enough to nab spots on the red carpet for photo and autograph ops weren't left disappointed. Each actor spent much of their time signing posters and mugging for cell phones before making their way into the screening (as did original Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, proving that there are no hard feelings in the land of Forks).
Not that there was any rush to get off the carpet, clearly, as the lights for the 7 p.m. showing weren’t even dimmed until 8:22 p.m.
And if director Condon and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg had any lingering fears about the audience’s reaction to the film’s twist -- a surprise ending not represented in Meyer’s novel -- they likely were squelched by resounding shrieks of terror and subsequent squeals of approval from the Twihards occupying the mezzanine. As a fitting end to the saga as a whole, Condon opted to pay tribute to all the actors who had a hand in the franchise from start to finish, including Cam Gigandet as James, Rachel LeFevre (oh, and Bryce Dallas Howard) as Victoria and Gil Birmingham as Billy Black, among many others.
The deafening cheers lingered long into the credits, while a few individuals eager to hit the afterparty began filing out before the film had even concluded. Those were the smart ones, apparently, because those who exited the premises during the credits were stuck in a human traffic jam.
But with a coveted gold wristband, partygoers were ushered up to the event deck at L.A. Live and immediately greeted by wolves. Yes, live wolves.
A trio of wolves was secured in a large pen outside the party, though still atop the roof, where trainers entertained them and observers snapped photos. And while those unfortunate enough to have their cell phones snatched away by security waited in a seemingly endless line to retrieve them, others mingled inside a giant tent made to represent several key scenes from all five films in the franchise.
Upon entering the room, attendees were transported to a winter wonderland complete with fake snow (which unfortunately resembled dandruff for brunettes and those donning black ensembles), a bar made entirely of ice and a forest of Christmas trees. It was in this frosty paradise that partygoers also posed for photos in a small booth sponsored up by Patron tequila, a mainstay at many Hollywood premieres.
Venture further into the venue and eyes were immediately drawn to the gazebo-style dance floor, strung up with twinkling lights, from the prom scene in the first film. Among the other decor highlights: chairs and mirrors from the Volturi, several mini-meadows of wildflowers, the altar where Edward and Bella became Mr. and Mrs. Cullen and a small corner of paradise -- complete with waterfall -- representing their honeymoon. Also on display was Bella’s Carolina Herrera wedding gown, her Manolo Blahnik shoes, Edward’s old-fashioned tux, varsity jackets from Forks High School and the baseball uniforms worn by the Cullens during one infamous scene. Members of Team Jacob also could take photos of themselves seated behind the wheel of his beat-up, orange truck. (Worth noting: There wasn't a Volvo in sight.)
Along the back wall, scenes from all five films were projected.
Mingling throughout the crowd were waiters dressed in red-and-black cloaks resembling the Volturi. And while the costumes might have been eerie, it at least made them easy to spot.
Prying eyes generally were shielded from the activities of the film’s stars, as the who’s who of Breaking Dawn were quarantined to a small, heavily guarded corner of the room. Meyer sat holding hands with her husband, while the underage Lautner -- still donning his red carpet apparel -- sipped on an energy drink. Stewart slipped out of her lacy, attention-grabbing gown for the event, pairing a more comfortable T-shirt and jeans with a leather jacket. Pattinson also opted for a wardrobe change, donning a red shirt, jeans, a baseball cap and a similar leather jacket as he drank from a can of Coca-Cola. For what it’s worth, the former couple (who continue to keep wondering minds guessing about the current status of their relationship) were not photographed together at the party and had generally limited interaction.
Despite the extra security measures, a few star-struck individuals still made their way past the velvet ropes to capture images of the cast with their cell phones -- something that’s old hat for the stars, at this point.
In the opposite corner of the room was an equally guarded section, where film execs were protected – though probably unnecessarily -- by their own security.
Among the other famous faces in the VIP section were Stevie Nicks, who leaned in for a photo with Lautner, and the cast of The Host, Meyer’s first non-Twilight entity to hit the big screen. Actors Jake Abel and Saoirse Ronan posed for photos with the author after walking the red carpet earlier in the evening. Mad Men actress Kiernan Shipka could be spotted among the regular folks walking around the venue, as well as Elle Fanning, younger sister of Dakota.
In the spirit of nostalgia, The Hollywood Reporter asked Pattinson what has changed the most from the very first Twilight premiere in 2008 to now: "It was incredibly overwhelming, the first one. It felt like being hit by a truck. This one, you know nothing really weird is gonna happen."
Said Stewart, "It is kind of the same, to be honest. Every time we come back to do anything for these movies, it’s always the same feeling. It’s what we’re gonna miss. It’s that excitement."
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@thr.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci
by Trilby Beresford
by Etan Vlessing