At last, an opportunity to combine my three favorite things in this universe: Twilight, writing, and behind the scenes. If given the choice between watching a film, start to finish, or watching each and every piece of bonus content on that same DVD, I will always choose the latter. Bonus content is the one reason why I believe that DVDs are superior to VHS tapes. I love seeing the scenes that did not make the final cut, the effects, and methods used to create the product we receive, the bloopers/gag reel, and the actors explaining their motivations, feelings towards certain scenes, and their favorite aspects of the filming process.
Seeing people, in costume, goofing off between takes and preparing for the next go at the scene is simply my favorite aspect of the film consuming experience. Give me a six-hour behind the scenes featurette and I will be happy. Each and every single one of the Twilight films is accompanied by two to four hours of behind the scenes content and I thought that I would pay it forward by sharing the highlights of these videos that I have held close to my heart for a decade with the people of the world.
So, without further ado, here are twenty-five photos and stories that capture what it was like to be working behind the scenes on the many films that make up the Twilight franchise. These might change the way that you see the films, but they're definitely fun to look at.
25 The Dance-Off
The large scale battle that takes up a good portion of the final installment in the series was a real beast to film. And, one day, the cast decided that they were no longer in the mood to be serious. They wanted to goof off for a few minutes; so they organized a huge dance battle in order to prank the director. During one take it is declared that they would settle this fight with a dance battle and each and every actor busted out some choreographed moves while music blared throughout the production studio. Everyone needs to goof off at work every now and then.
24 Wolf Not Included
I applaud Kristen Stewart for being able to make it through four movies while acting opposite Taylor Lautner while he is dressed up as a giant grey weirdo. I do not think that I would have the ability to stay in character and act through serious and life threatening scenarios while having to interact with that boy while he is dressed up like a big colourless alien. I could not do it. Kristen deserves every single acting award that exists for being able to compose herself during these lengthy scenes.
23 Welcome To The Night Shift
In order to prevent the exploitation of minors, there are strict rules and regulations regarding the schedules of the child actors.
These rules can be incredibly frustrating to work around but they protect children, so I am all for them.
So since Kristen was underaged when filming began for the first Twilight film, her hours were incredibly limited. But, luckily, she turned 18 during the filming process and this was celebrated by her being presented a cake accompanied by the message “Welcome to the Night Shift.”
22 The Brief Life Of Chuckesmee
They should have used a real baby to play Renesmee. I understand that they wanted to CGI map Mackenzie Foy’s face onto the child and to animate her so that she held herself in the unnatural ways which were described in the books. But that CGI baby is incredibly unsettling. However, this baby was nowhere near as spooky as the animatronic baby which was almost used. Look at Nikki’s face in the above photo. She looks absolutely done. Luckily, Kristen put her foot down and refused to act with the robot which she nicknamed “Chucky.”
21 Plastic Leg Syndrome
In order to create the lifeless and gaunt legs that lie on the table after Bella breaks her spine while going into labor, a prop table was built with a secret chamber that could house Kristen’s lower half beneath its surface while prop legs were placed on top.
These legs were manipulated throughout the scene as her real sweatpant-clad legs rested gently below.
Kristen required assistance while getting in and out of the contraption but boy, did she sure act her upper body off in that scene.
20 Revenge Of The Spider Monkey
Yes, when Edward and Bella ran through those trees in the first installment of the series, they were actually in those trees. Thanks to wires, forced perspective, and two actors determined to do as much of their own stunts as the director would allow; no CGI was used to place the characters in those trees. However, when it was time to stand at the very top of the tree while the camera captures a beautiful landscape shot, the stunt doubles were called in.
19 Shed Those Parkas
Though Bella and Edward’s wedding was supposed to take place in the midst of August, the actors on set that day were feeling anything but the summer heat. It turns out that the days which were slotted to film this long-awaited scene were so cold that every actor and extra on set would huddle up under blankets and parkas the second the cameras stopped rolling. And since most of the guests were dressed in light chiffon dresses and breezy suits, misery spread fast and wide the second they were forced to remove those shields from the chilly air and carry on with the scene.
18 A Family Portrait
See? They should have used a real, flesh and blood child to create young Renesmee. Look how happy Bella and Edward are to hold that child. I never felt that sort of bond while watching the characters interact with that weird CGI baby. Fun fact: the afterbirth which coats the baby in the fourth film following Bella’s lethal labour was a delicious mix of cottage cheese and jam. The baby used in that scene found this mixture absolutely divine and they could not get the child to focus and to stop licking herself clean.
17 The Calm Before The Storm
My favourite thing about behind-the-scenes photos like the photo above this paragraph is being able to see the actors hang out between takes.
Eclipse is an incredibly serious movie filled with high stakes, action, and fatal encounters.
So seeing the actors take a minute and enjoy each others company without the same pressures that their characters face is something that I truly enjoy. Sometimes I wish that these films could take a break from their intense rising action and allow the characters to simply take a breather and enjoy life, if even only for a moment.
16 No Time To Brood
Photos like these make me question Robert’s early recollections of his time as Edward. Seeing how much fun Robert clearly had while making these films, how much of work he dedicated to the part, as well as his love for his co-stars makes me wonder if his post-Twilight hate parade was the result of an inherent distaste for the series from the start or rather a case of sour grapes that followed the public and tumultuous end to his relationship with his co-star, Kristen.
15 Northern Formal Wear
Just like the beloved wedding scene, the shoot which resulted in Bella and Edward’s prom scene was an especially cold one. The moment the director called cut, both actors jumped into their parkas and did their best to save up enough warmth to last them through the next take. Fun fact: the gazebo dance sequence had a rotating floor which was used to create the romantic spin effect in the film and Robert completely biffed it the first time he climbed aboard during rehearsals.
14 Dabbling In Slapstick
It can be incredibly difficult to maintain a serious and focused decorum at all times. Sometimes you just have to ruin a take by cracking a smile during a near-fatal accident. The scene in which Edward saves Bella from Tyler’s skidding van is one filled with fear, tension, and a near-lethal level of serious glares. So I do not fault the actors for cracking a smile between takes in order to alleviate a bit of the pressure and tension that the scene was creating.
13 Of The Foam Clan
When the wolves aren’t being played by giant grey weirdos with Taylor Lautner's face, the roles were filled by large foam cut outs. In order to block the scene, establish eye lines, and show the SFX team exactly where the wolves needed to be, these large foam cut outs would be placed and moved throughout the scenes being filmed. I do not know if I could maintain such a serious and intense atmosphere while talking to, fighting, and attempting to intimidate, a styrofoam dog.
12 Fictional Look-Alikes
Many critics and fans alike have accused Stephenie Meyer of basing the character of Bella (both physically and personality wise) on an idealized version of herself. And this side by side comparison truly does showcase their apparent similarities. However, as a writer, I would like to say that every character created has a little sliver of the author in them and as a reader, I love reading books about characters whose shoes I could realistically fill. Call it narcissism or lazy writing if you must, but I do not think she should be faulted for something that we all do.
11 On Top Of A Werewolf
Fun fact: Mackenzie Foy nearly slipped off the back of this fur covered wolf stand-in during one of the takes and spooked literally every single person on set that day. The wolf stand-in was placed on a movable mechanism that allowed a hidden crew member to move it realistically throughout the scene.
But when the crew member slipped, the wolf jerked unpredictably, and Mackenzie was nearly bucked clean off. Thankfully her fellow actors possessed incredibly quick reaction times and were able to catch her before disaster struck.
10 Gaunt Gestation
When that fetus was literally sucking the life out of Bella, the character needed to lose a lot of weight and fast in order to show the devastating effect the pregnancy was having. However, Kristen Stewart was approximately 109lbs whilst filming the fourth installment of the series and any dramatic weight loss (especially to the lengths that Bella experiences) would have been incredibly dangerous. So SFX, prosthetics, and even a gaunt dummy made from a cast of Kristen’s face and body were used periodically in order to achieve her skeletal appearance.
9 Soaring To New Heights
Victoria is a prolific hunter with cat-like movements that would make a grown man’s heart stop from sheer terror. So crafting these movement-based sequences took a lot of work and careful planning as well as a talented stunt double with a knack for flying through the air. The stunt double who brought Victoria’s more dangerous movements to life (Alicia Turner) had an extensive acrobatic and diving background which was needed to create the perfected, lethal, and graceful movements Victoria relied on while both fleeing and attacking her enemies.
8 Belly Flop Of Doom
I know that Jasper is supposed to be performing a lethal maneuver here but I just cannot take him seriously. He is literally about to belly-flop on a giant pillow.
There is nothing menacing or intimidating about cuddle time. Luckily, the SFX crew was able to step in and create a bit of movie magic which turned this harmless and silly belly-flop into a brutal attack which ended the life of one of his newfound enemies. I think that the post-production crew deserves a lot more credit and recognition than they typically receive.
7 Protect The Costume At All Costs
Now, I cannot confirm whether or not this robe was meant to keep Kristen warm or her costume clean. So, for now, we will assume that this fuzzy housecoat is pulling double duty. Night shoots can get extremely cold and, when filming outdoors, it is exceptionally important to keep one's costume clean as any dirt or stains could temporarily derail filming. And with the tight schedules in which these films were produced, no one would want to be the reason that everything would have to be put on hold and then reset at a later date.
6 Seeing Double
In the books, Bella experiences a large number of dreams which seem to prophesize or explain to her some element of either her future or the worlds around her. I have often wondered why this minor psychic ability never played into her supernatural vampire powers as it is clear that she possesses some form of clairvoyance. These dreams also played a role in the films, but lesser so. This photo is a snapshot at a behind-the-scenes look at an extended dream sequence which was edited and cut thoroughly before being slotted into the second installment of the series.
5 A Much Deserved Break
There is a reason why children are not allowed to work the same hours as their grown-up co-stars. And that reason is mainly night shoots. I honestly could not imagine working the sort of hours that actors regularly do. 14 hour days for six weeks straight (not including hair, makeup, and wardrobe) of putting yourself through intense emotional and physical work with the knowledge that the entire project is resting on your shoulders. No thank you. I will pass on all of that.
4 Eliminate The Potato Sack
These actors must use their imaginations in order to turn that fluffy potato sack into a fierce werewolf that is ready to rip them limb from limb. They cannot see it as a harmless sack of fluff. They must only see it as a dangerous threat that must be eliminated before it has a chance to lessen their numbers further.
The post-production crew will eventually make this a reality. But for now, they must attack that fluffy teddy bear as if their actions are the only thing between them and the end of their lives.
3 Postmortem Laughing Fit
I can only imagine how intense and difficult that labor scene must have been to film. From the fast-paced movements and sheer amount of gore to the intense atmosphere that filled the set that day, staying serious and focused must have taken a lot of work. And that doesn’t even consider the fact that Kristen literally had to scream, writhe, and strain her head off for hours on end. So she deserves every second of levity and rest that she could find. Revel in it, Kristen. You are doing great!
2 Prelude To A Nightmare
This screenshot from the cut down psychic dream sequence from the second film in the series looks absolutely hilarious when stripped of context. Look at it.
Look at Edward creepily kneeling on that bed that is resting on the forest floor for some reason.
Look at that wolf just patiently waiting for its turn to shine and the treats it will receive for doing a good job. Look at its handler, just chilling while they wait for their cue. Every aspect is both surreal and hilarious. I want to thank whoever took this photo for blessing us with such a bizarre sight.
1 An Alternate Ending
The cast of the Twilight series know how to have a good time and are no strangers to joke takes. Remember that constipated look that crossed Edward’s face after smelling Bella for the first time while he did everything in his power to resist ending her life right then and there? Well, as a gag, for one take, Robert and Kristen thought it would be funny to see what would happen had Edward not have been able to get hold of himself and had given in to his animalistic impulses. This joke take features Edward literally sucking the life out of Bella the moment after she sits next to him.