There are movie fans, and then there are movie fans -- people so dedicated to their favorite franchise they elevate almost everyone associated with the project to celebrity status. George Lucas may have begun behind the camera, but to "Star Wars" fanatics, he's Skywalker-level recognizable.
And in 2010, there's no die-hard like a Twi-Hard.
"The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" director David Slade has experienced the fervor firsthand, telling NextMovie exclusively: "At this point, I think I'm finally getting less recognizable and that suits me just fine. The days of being stopped on the street are actually getting less and less."
Fortunately, Slade explains, his popularity came late in the game, keeping him free to serve the story first and the fans second. "When we started this, the fan culture ... had nowhere near the groundswell that it has now. I think that was good for me because I went in with a very clear picture of the film I wanted to make -- that was very subservient to cinema, not to the novel, not to fan favorite things."
Read on for the rest of our interview with Slade, in which he reveals the way "Eclipse" almost ended, predicts the next "Twilight" — and explains the magic behind Meyer's creation.
Did fan pressure ever divert your grand plan for "Eclipse?"
It was subservient to cinema and to make the best movie. I decided to continue with that and to not reference so much what had happened before and just work on the moment and work on moving forward. To some degree, it's my chagrin if certain fan favorite scenes weren't included in the film, but largely they were -- and largely that's because they're usually the best scenes and therefore they end up being your favorite scenes as well as director.
On the DVD, there are certain deleted scenes and while I'm not a fan ... this is a film which has a fan subculture. I felt there was a kind of responsibility to explain myself where certain scenes were shot that didn't make it into the film.
One thing missing from the movie was the final scene in "Eclipse," the novel -- Edward gives in to Bella's longstanding request for pre-vampiric sex, but she turns him down. Was there a thematic reason for leaving that out?
No, that's something that happened at the script-writing stage. We discussed a lot of these things — at one point, we were even going to shoot the wedding at the end of ["Eclipse"] but we knew there was another film coming. We knew that a lot of that could go into the next film. We just made the most concise version of this story that we could.
Having been so immersed in this world, do you have a good sense of what makes a series this sticky? Can you predict the Next Big Thing for this audience?
"Hunger Games" is probably going to be huge. I was actually very interested in directing the film of that. I met with Lionsgate to talk about it, but it didn't work out.
I'm a big, big fan, a big supporter of fan subcultures. I think they make things bigger than they are and they allow younger people -- sometimes older people-- to interact in positive ways …they're good things in society, while there are a lot of bad things in society. And the things that drive great successes are things that people just identify with. ["Twilight"] is essentially a coming-of-age story of a girl who goes on to become a woman and goes through very, very fantastic things that all somehow tie to her life.
It's a story that talks about true love in a very honest, straight-up way. It's a very cynical culture that we live in. This is one thing that holds its love story on its sleeve and says, "Yes, this is a love story. It's about people in love." And it's a beautiful, wonderful thing.
Since there's obviously a precedent for switching directors with every movie in a franchise, we'd like to officially throw our support your way for the "Hunger Games" sequel.
Aw, well. Let's see how things go. Who knows. I was in talks early on with "Hunger Games" but it didn't go and I moved on to the next thing. I don't tend to attach myself to a lot of things -- I generally kind of pursue something to the point at which it becomes a reality, then I start talking about it. I'm very close -- but there are four things and they're all very, very different.
Before "Hard Candy," you directed quite a few music videos. Was there a specific one that may have launched your movie career?
Not really, no. I think my movie career was launched by "Hard Candy" and I think if you talk to David Higgins, the producer on that, [he'd say] I basically went and was so belligerent with him that he couldn't say no to me. I just hammered him and hammered him and hammered him and it was very low-budget and eventually he gave me the opportunity to direct the film. I think certainly having 10 years of music video production helped me get that film.
But I couldn't single out a specific one, no. I always seem to kind of do these little obscure bands that no one's heard of.
Like Stone Temple Pilots? Never heard of them.
Well, you know, there's the odd one or two. The body of work in general. Stone Temple Pilots and maybe Tori Amos were some of the ones that people heard of.
"Hard Candy" is very edgy -- and extremely different from "Eclipse." Was there any point during "Eclipse" where you would have gone edgier if you weren't keeping your audience in mind?
No, there was no time during "Eclipse" where I felt like I was being restrained. If anything, the producers kind of encouraged me to be more edgy than I was being. I just had a really clear picture of the film I wanted to make and it wasn't "Hard Candy," it was "Eclipse."
It's one of those things -- to stay sane, you can't really look at reviews or monetary success as your own personal benchmarks as much as whether you felt you did OK or you screwed up and you need to give up and do something else. And for me, it's more of a case of going in with a really clear picture of the film I wanted to make. At the end of it, how close did the film get to that picture? In this instance, very close.