ARTICLE JONATHAN DURBIN
PHOTOGRAPHY DOUG INGLISH
IN THE SPIRIT OF OUR NEXT GEN ISSUE, WE REMINISCE ON SOME OF OUR FAVORITE CELEBRITIES WHO WERE BUT STARS ON THE RISE WHEN WE FIRST CELEBRATED THEM IN OUR PAGES
THE ADVANCE BUZZ IS THE ONLY THING LOUDER THAN THE SCREAMS IN TWILIGHT, A TALE OF FORBIDDEN LOVE, SEXED-UP TEENS, AND BLOODTHIRSTY VAMPIRES WHICH FEATURES A BUMPER CROP OF TOMORROW'S HOTTEST YOUNG ACTORS. GET READY TO SINK YOUR TEETH IN
Spoiler alert: If you want to find how Twilight ends, all you need to do is pick up the book. The film, which comes out this November, is an adaptation of the first volume in Arizona author Stephenie Meyer's popular vampire quadrilogy, a set of sentimental tales about the impossible love between an ordinary 17-year-old high school girl and her classmate, a beautiful 110-year-old bloodsucker, who refuses to bite her and damn her to his sort of immortality. In other words, it's your regular teenage romance. "The story has elements of Romeo + Juliet and Titanic," says director Catherine Hardwicke (Lords of Dogtown, Thirteen), "but it's also got sexual tension, the supernatural, and a guy who's fighting his own impulses in order to stay in the relationship. It's really very sexy. Who hasn't fallen for the wrong person? It's like, 'I know that this is the last person I should let my heart go to, but it's already gone.'"
So far, audiences seem sold on the film, sight unseen. Twilight cost $37 million to make, but judging from the groundswell of support from Meyer's fans-- many of them teenage girls-- producers should have little trouble recouping their costs, especially considering the ensemble cast of young male heartthrobs they've assembled. Meyer may not be J.K. Rowling, but she's certainly no slouch. The final book in the series, Breaking Dawn, sold about 1.3 million copies on the day it was released last August (about a sixth of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' first day). Translation rights to the books have been sold in thirty-three different countries, and the second, New Moon, spent thirty-three weeks on the New York Times children's best-seller list. Vampire stories have some staying power--- especially vampire stories about lovelorn kids.
In adapting the first book, Hardwicke and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg opted to stay faithful to Meyer's narrative. (Probably a wise decision, considering how rabid the readership is.) Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is an average teen living in Phoenix who decides to move to her father's house in Forks, Washington, a dreary place where it rains three-quarters of the year, to giver her mother and her new stepfather time to travel. At school, Bella meets Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), an alluring and initially distant presence, whom she begins to suspect is a vampire. As it turns out, Edward belongs to a coven of beautiful vegetarian vamps--- a family of sorts, brought together by a shared mandate to drink animal blood instead of the human kind.
The two begin a relationship, fraught with all the usual, uh, interfaith difficulties. Meanwhile, a rival group of equally beautiful but less friendly bloodsuckers descends on the town, one of whom decides to hunt Bella for sport. The chase is on, and its up to Edward to save her. "It's just a great metaphor for unrequited love," says Rosenberg. "Bella feels very normal, and that can be hard when she's surrounded by these modelesque figures, who are so difficult to relate to physically. It's the same for any kid growing up in L.A., when you're surrounded by models and actors."
Perhaps energized by the beauty-myth subtext and the allure of forbidden love, Meyer's fan base has proven to be an active one. Groups like Twilighters, Twi-Hards, and even Twilight Moms have organized online, and in July they flocked to San Diego's Comic-Con, where Meyer, Hardwicke, Rosenberg, and members of the principal cast showed footage and took questions from the crowd-- at least when they could be heard over the screams. The response to actors Robert Pattinson, Cam Gigandet, and Taylor Lautner was "a little like the Beatles on Ed Sullivan," Rosenberg recalls. "It was insanity." The coming-of-age story's sequels have yet to be planned, but given the reaction so far, Hardwicke is sanguine about her chances of revisiting the series. "I mean," she says, "who wouldn't want to be bitten on the neck by a handsome vampire?"
GROOMING BERTRAND W. FOR SHU UEMURA (TRACEY MATTINGLY) PHOTO ASSISTANTS NICK WALKER AND ERIC HOBBS HAIR ASSISTANT ALLY SAMAN ON-SITE PRODUCTION MEOWLANA KAGAN RETOUCHING ANNA BOLEK (DIGITAL FUSION) AND LUCIAN CAPELLARO