Director David Slade Exclusive Interview for THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE DVD/Blu-ray; Plus an Update on Future Projects

     November 30, 2010

David Slade Twilight slice

On December 4th, and just in time for the holiday season, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse will be released on DVD, Blu-Ray and combo pack. Much to the satisfaction of all the loyally dedicated fans, the two-disc special edition of the third installment in the wildly popular, $2 billion franchise features a six-part behind the scenes documentary, along with deleted and extended scenes, a photo gallery, music videos, and audio commentary from Robert Pattinson & Kristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer & Wyck Godfrey.

Earlier today, Collider had the opportunity to do an exclusive interview with director David Slade, in which he talked about all of the special features and extras that even the most hardcore fans are sure to enjoy, how every aspect of making the film was daunting, that one of his favorite scenes was the kitchen scene between Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Charlie (Billy Burke), and how he doesn’t judge a film by it’s financial or critical success, but rather how closely it achieves his original vision. He also said that he’s currently narrowing down what he’s going to be working on next, and that all of his choices are very different from his previous work. Check out what he had to say after the jump:

Question: What will fans get most excited about, in regard to the special features and extras that you’ve selected for this DVD?

DAVID SLADE: You know, I don’t know. That’s bad. I made the film and haven’t even seen these things, except to approve them. What I will say is that I think it’s a point worth making that, for a film like this, because of the fan base, I liken it to a subculture. It’s not quite punk rock, but it’s a fan culture, like Star Wars fans. It’s a positive thing and I’ve always been very, very supportive of fan cultures. I’m a fan of all kinds of things. With a DVD, you want something you can own, you can watch, you can come to grips with and you can explore. It’s something larger than the film, when it’s going out to a fan base like this. So, I guess that’s my answer. I hope that they like all of it.

The thing that I remember doing myself is the commentary on the deleted scenes. I don’t do commentaries on films because A) I’m not very good at it and B) it’s an odd thing that I discovered, on my first film, that you go through this really intense experience of making a film and then you sit in a little room with a monitor and you reduce the thing to a bunch of silly anecdotes. It’s really unfulfilling and I’ve never really enjoyed listening to them anyway, so I just don’t do them. I’ve made a point, since then, of not doing them.

But, one of the things I thought was important, particularly because of this fan base and because of how much stock they put into the stories, was just to talk about the stuff we took out – that we shot and we didn’t put in – and the reasoning behind it. I felt it needed a bit of justification. There were some scenes that I actually really liked and would like to have put them in. And who knows? They may be favorites of people within the fan cultures. Film becomes a living organism. After awhile, it begins to tell you what it needs and you’re usually best listening.

Looking back on the whole process of making Eclipse, were there things you were most happy with, in making the film, and were there things you wish you could have tweaked?

SLADE: Yeah, it’s always like that. As a director, you have to go in with a really, really, really clear picture of what you want. That’s the point of my commentaries. It’s so difficult because you’re the harshest critic. You’re like, “If only there was more time, more money, more whatever.” That’s not to say that, in this instance, it was any more or less than any other film I’ve done. That’s what you do. As the director, you’re meant to be critical and you are, so there are loads of things. But the thing is, the way I look at it is, to try to get some measure of success, it’s dangerous to look at financial or critical success, or positive response as a measure. The thing for a director, and one of my own personal ways of looking at it, is “How close was it to the picture you had in your head when you went in?” And it was very close. Besides Hard Candy, it was probably the closest. To that, I feel some measure of success.

One of the really striking things in the behind the scenes features is the obvious amount of time and attention to detail that was taken for every little thing in the film, from the sets and locations to the lighting to things like Bella’s engagement ring and the quilt she is given. Do you think the extent of what goes into making a film will really surprise people when they see that?

SLADE: It’s usually that way, though. I don’t know any other way to do it. That the way I am, really. Nothing was really put on. I don’t even remember the behind the scenes people being there, to be honest. They were very, very discreet. That’s just part of the process. The clearer the picture, the better the film, when you go in as the director, and I had a very clear picture of the film I was trying to make. Every day, you have to have a benchmark, and the benchmark is that picture, that image and that whole construct that you’ve prepared, so it has all those details in it. If that surprises people, then great. That’s just the way I work.

You said in the special features that it took you many years to figure out how to see a clear picture and then get it onto the screen. What was it that finally clicked for you and allowed you to know that you could actually be a director?

The-Twilight-Saga-Eclipse-movie-imageSLADE: Oh god, when’s that going to happen? I’m still waiting for that one. I think most directors are. It’s a process of learning. Certainly, from a technical point of view, I remember a specific defining moment where I went, “Oh shit, that looks exactly how I wanted it to! What am I going to do now?” But, that was 10 years ago or so. You always learn. There’s always room to learn and I love learning, so I have the perfect dream job.

What was the most daunting aspect of stepping into this wildly popular franchise?

SLADE: The most daunting thing was getting out of bed, every day. No, really. There’s this point between conscious and subconscious when you realize you were asleep and resting, and you were having all kinds of anxiety dreams about the film and all the things that can go wrong. You get in this hypnagogic state, where you’re waking up and realizing, “Oh, it was just a dream.” And then, there’s this moment where you’re like, “Oh, everything is fine.” And then, you’re laying in bed and you realize the moment your feet touch the ground, that you get back to work and the routine goes. You’re in the shower, you have breakfast, you go out the door, you’re in the car, you drive to the set and you start working. It’s that moment of limbo between where you have to make that decision to get out of bed, which of course you do every day, that is the most daunting thing. Sorry if that’s abstract, but everything about this film was fairly daunting, so we just had to break it down into little, tiny, Post-It note size pieces so it was manageable. It was a hugely epic story to be told, in a very short amount of time. So, getting out of bed was the most daunting thing.

What is the most memorable thing you’ll take away from having been a part of all of this?

The-Twilight-Saga-Eclipse-movie-imageSLADE: Going to bed, every night. I just remember going, “Oh god, I get to sleep for awhile.” There were so many things. There are favorite scenes or moments, and there were things that were just predictably fun. The scene where Charlie (Billy Burke) and Bella (Kristen Stewart) have the discussion in the kitchen, which starts out as trying to explore whether she understands this need for marriage and turns into this admission of being a virgin, was genuinely fun because both actors have great comic timing. It wasn’t about going in to find the joke. The joke was there, and everything was actually a bonus. I remember that being tons of fun. And always with really emotionally-charged scenes, you get a tingle because nothing is quite going to be like the moment of actually seeing it happen, in the moment, on the monitor. It may be great in the dailies and it may still have all of that resonance, but just being there, in a moment of truth, is always something you remember. I remember so many of those that I’d bore the hell out of you, recounting them.

Do you feel it was a help or a  hindrance with Eclipse that the cast had already been together for two previous films?

The-Twilight-Saga-Eclipse-movie-imageSLADE: It was a bit of both. Yes, there is something absolutely wonderful to build upon because they’ve done it before. But, the way it worked for me was that I met each actor individually and asked, quite honestly, what worked and what didn’t work, so we could excise what didn’t work and build upon what worked. And with so little time to shoot the film, and pressures of the schedule and weather, and all the rest of it, it certainly wouldn’t have been as successful, had they not been through this before. But, to an extent, this is also the most mature of the films so far, so there wasn’t too much to be done to look backwards. It was mainly, essentially a process of growing forwards from where they came from. But, it’s good to know where you’ve come from.

Was it fun, as a filmmaker, to get to show some of the characters’ backstories and bring that new aspect to the story?

SLADE: Yeah, I actually spent the most time, when I was reading the book, really researching and going back and re-reading the stuff like Jasper’s (Jackson Rathbone) backstory and Rosalie’s (Nikki Reed) story. Those are the ones that I actually had the most fun reading in the book as well. At a certain point, I remember that there was theoretical talk about cutting one or another of those scenes out because they weren’t essentially that critical to the main three characters’ story, but we kept them all and they were really fun. It’s one of those things, when you have a novel and you have source material, where you can actually really go and explore that stuff. You’re not actually pulling it out of your own ass. You’re actually referencing something. That’s as close as you get to doing historical drama without doing historical drama. And we had Stephenie [Meyer] there all the time, so even if it wasn’t clear in the novel, she would always have such a clear picture of this world and this universe, and she can answer any question. You could ask her a year apart and it will be the same answer she gives you, every time.

You’ve been mentioned as being considered for so many different upcoming projects, such as The Hunger Games and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, that have gone to other directors. Do you have any idea what you’ll actually be working on next?

The-Twilight-Saga-Eclipse-movie-imageSLADE: I wish I could be very specific, but I can’t. We’ve gone through 30-odd projects. My agent and manager would sternly tell me exactly the number of projects that we’ve turned down, at this point. But, I think it’s really important to do the right thing next. I’m closing in on about four projects, which I really, really love. The fates and the wind direction will determine which, but I don’t know yet. They’re all very different as well, and none of them are things that I’ve really done before.

Are you looking to adapt another project for the screen, or are you looking to do original material?

SLADE: One of them is completely original. One of them is an adaptation. They’re all different. I don’t really know. I wish I could say, “It’s going to be this.” They’re all different tales, and they’re all different genres. They’re all just different things. It’s one of those things where I haven’t consistently done the same thing, which is not out of design, but just out of my personal interest. Hopefully, some sense of vision or something will keep some kind of consistency in a body of work, but I don’t go out looking to do a Western, or whatever it is, next.

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE is out on DVD/Blu-Ray on December 4th

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