Twilight: The Life of a Vampire
From the earliest meetings, costume designer Wendy Chuck had a strong vision for the Cullens' wardrobe. "In the book, the Cullens are described as having immaculate taste," she says. "Making them look different, but still able to blend with the people in Forks was a challenge in itself."
Meyer was happy with the direction the filmmakers took in terms of her characters' clothes. "A lot of people think because you're dealing with vampires, we're talking about floor length leather dusters in black and chokers and whatnot and I knew that was going to be a temptation," says the author. "Catherine was able to say no to that. We talked about light colors and classic designers and things like that."
When Chuck first met with Hardwicke, she pitched some ideas that corresponded with what the director was already thinking. "I just thought, we've seen all that before-the Goth look, the black and the bondage look. Let's have something different for a change. I kept coming back to the idea that a vampire world was one that was caught in time. It was glacial; it was a frozen moment for them. To me it became about reflections and transparencies and white and silver and grey, with highlights of black or a contrast color to use like blue. That's where our palette started and I presented Catherine with some tear sheets. There was one in particular she liked and we thought, 'Oh, those are colors of an Arctic wolf.' We used that as the theme for creating the Cullens' world."
Starting with the idea of vampire as rock star, Chuck began to make slight differentiations in the characters, based on their backgrounds. "Edward is from the Edwardian Era and he wears boots that lace up, trim pants and some really classical shapes and styles of the time. Alice is supposed to be a pixie. I couldn't help but refer in my mind to Alice in Wonderland. She was easier to dress only because of who Ashley is and how great she looks in clothes. "Bella's style was evolutionary. As she becomes more entwined with Edward and the Cullens, she starts to wear more blue."
The nomadic vampires had their own, edgier style of dressing, based on the idea of taking trophies. "We made James the very feral one," says Chuck. "You'll notice that his leather jacket has embellishments of badges and other stuff. He's a killer, and he does it for sport. So he collects these things and he wears them with pride. Rachelle is just so beautiful and perfect for the part of Victoria. We decided that she would have some kind of animal item on her but we didn't want to do leather. Fur didn't seem right and then this sheep's skin came into play and so I rigged it in a way that she could wear it in different ways. Then she's got her hardcore rock star jeans."
"James and Victoria have all these trinkets, all these shiny things that we pick up that clearly belonged to other people," says Lefevre. "I've got this bracelet that initially looks like I took it from a little old lady, but upon closer inspection, it looks more like the kind of thing you would give a little girl. We're full of knickknacks."
Stephenie Meyer selected Forks, Washington, as Bella's hometown after a web search for the rainiest places in the continental United States. It was essential that the Cullens settle in a location that rarely sees direct sunlight, because the sun reveals the Cullens as something other than human. An exhaustive search for the perfect location to replicate the dank, dark and moody community took the filmmakers to Oregon, where weather conditions mirrored those of Forks and the filmmaking community was strong.
"One of things that was so great for us was that the setting for the film became a character in its own right," says Hardwicke. "In this case, the rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula, a diverse blend of climates and natural wonders, is iconic in the film; the moss and the dripping trees, where the Cullens live-which almost feels like a very cool tree house-and the constant, persistent mist and rain."
The 48-day production turned out to be more arduous than the producers expected. "The shoot was really difficult from a physical perspective," says Mooradian. "Oregon had all these great locations, but they weren't always right beside a parking lot .We often had to go deep into the woods and take all of our equipment in there. You've got to be able to create optimal lighting conditions. That aspect of it was very, very difficult-plus we had crazy weather in Portland, where the weather changes four times before lunch. And when you're shooting exteriors that can be a great challenge."
Immaculately outfitted and ensconced in the gloomy Northwest, the actors needed only a little help with their vampire superpowers to complete the transition. Twilight is packed with astonishing stunts designed by second unit director and stunt coordinator Andy Cheng. According to Cheng, the most effective way to stage the extraordinarily acrobatic super-powers possessed by the vampires was through wirework. "Throughout the preparation period, and even during filming, Catherine and I had many discussions about how we would depict the physicality of the vampires. We agreed that they could move really fast when they run, but not at lightning speed. They can jump really far, so their movements are more catlike than anything. Wirework helps tremendously and CGI refines the ragged edges."
Producer Godfrey says of Cheng, "He is the right tool for this job. He's the best. He knows how the rigs work and what you can realistically accomplish. He brings a lot of energy to everything he does, and I think that was important for Catherine. She is somebody who likes to focus on performance and relationships and the love story, so to have somebody she trusted and believed in to give us some of the extraordinary action of the movie was invaluable."
To allow the actors to appear to be running at super-human speed, Cheng used what he calls the Magic Carpet Ride. "The Magic Carpet Ride is a stunt rig that is pulled along the ground and when you're shooting people long-lens or beside them, even if they're running or walking, all you're seeing is their relationship to the background. So, when you're watching the characters walking on it, it looks like their flying across screen, which gives it a supernatural feel."
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