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At the Los Angeles premiere of Twilight: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 on Monday, actor Billy Burke (who plays Bella Swan’s father, Charlie) appropriately described the Summit franchise as a “piece of Hollywood history.”
But when the history books are, in fact, written, how will The Twilight Saga‘s impact ultimately be felt over the course of time?
Ask the actors, and author Stephenie Meyer‘s story (skillfully adapted to the silver screen by writer Melissa Rosenberg) already has impacted countless aspects of the filmmaking world just four years after its 2008 explosion.
“Young adult books are really huge right now. Everybody wants to make one of those,” says Kristen Stewart (Bella). Since Twilight‘s 2008 debut, The Hunger Games has become a lucrative franchise for Lionsgate, and optioning rights to similarly themed novels, including Beautiful Creatures, Warm Bodies and Meyer’s own The Host, were quickly snapped up by studios.
“It seems like that happened way more after Twilight than it did after Harry Potter, and I have no idea why,” muses Robert Pattinson (Edward), who also played a memorable role in J.K. Rowling‘s beloved franchise. “It seems like more people are writing. Everybody writes a trilogy now if they’re doing a kids book.”
But beyond the YA franchise trend, veteran actor Michael Sheen (Aro) offers another benefit of the Twilight model.
“Apart from Kristen, who had done a lot of work beforehand, the other actors weren’t that well-known,” he recalls. “So the idea of being able to have a hugely successful series of films without necessarily having really well-known actors in it, that’s obviously gonna be attractive for producers.”
He adds with a grin, “I would look out for more films that have young, buff guys taking their tops off.”
As for the young, shirtless actor in question, Taylor Lautner (Jacob) says of the low-budget Twilight, “We really had no idea we were making a movie or a franchise like this.”
Indeed, fueling the female-driven tentpole are attractive young men, an unrelenting theme of maddening, unconditional love and a “fairly strong” female protagonist, as Stewart describes her character.
“It’s been good for the ladies on some level,” notes Elizabeth Reaser (Esme), who credits Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke with playing a crucial role in the franchise’s success. “I don’t remember when I was growing up there ever being a franchise where the lead is a young girl.”
And with Meyer’s next adaptation, The Host — a supernatural drama centered on a young, female protagonist at the heart of a love triangle — there undoubtedly will be comparisons. Although, at the heart of the book, the subject matter is very different.
Asked whether she feels pressure to live up to the Twilight-level of success again, Meyer tells THR: “For me, they’re so different, and I don’t expect anything to be like Twilight again. That was such a weird experience, and to have everything be so crazy and bizarre, that’s just not normal. The fanaticism isn’t normal. So I would imagine it’ll be a much more normal experience.
“But I’m sure for investors and the like, they would really feel a lot of pressure to have it be just the same,” she concedes. “I think this story is very different, I think people respond to it very differently. I don’t think it will be the same phenomenon at all.”
Breaking Dawn — Part 2 opened globally to $340.9 million this weekend, marking the franchise’s best global opening. In North America, however, Breaking Dawn — Part 2 fell short of the series’ second film, New Moon, which opened on the same weekend in 2009.
For more from the actors, watch the video above.
Email: Sophie.Schillaci; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci
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