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'Breaking Dawn': Bill Condon to Direct Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson Fantasy

Robert Pattinson faces Kristen Stewart Twilight
Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen faces Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan in Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight

Writer-director Bill Condon, who won a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for Gods and Monsters (1998), has been named the director of the last installment(s) of the The Twilight Saga series, Breaking Dawn, which will bring back Robert Pattinson's Edward Cullen, Kristen Stewart's Bella Swan, Taylor Lautner's Jacob Black, and at least one new – and highly unusual – character to boot.

“I'm very excited to get the chance to bring the climax of this saga to life onscreen,” Condon was quoted as saying. “As fans of the series know, this is a one-of-a-kind book — and we're hoping to create an equally unique cinematic experience.”

Other Oscar-pedigreed filmmakers previously under consideration for Breaking Dawn were Sofia Coppola, Gus Van Sant, and Stephen Daldry, who has recently been announced as the director of the screen adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

Catherine Hardwicke directed the first movie, Twilight, which wasn't too warmly received by critics. Even so, the “indie” effort caught everyone by surprise when it became an international box office hit.

Chris Weitz, whose grandmother Lupita Tovar starred in the Spanish-language version of Dracula back in 1931, directed the second, New Moon. That also failed to impress most critics, but it went on to become an even bigger worldwide blockbuster.

David Slade handled the third installment, Eclipse, which opens in the United States next June 30. (The world premiere will be held at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles on June 24.) Slade is supposed to have brought a “darker” feel to Eclipse; and approach that can be clearly seen in the film's official final trailer.

Also, by emphasizing physical over emotional conflict in the trailer – a war pitting an army of nasty new-born vampires against “vegetarian” vampires and werewolves – Summit Entertainment has been desperately trying to erase the “teen girl” stigma attached to the Twilight series. However idiotic, “real men,” won't be caught dead walking into a theater showing a “chick flick.” That would be not only socially unacceptable, but might also lead to myriad fates worse than death.

Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, who has been criticized by numerous Twilight Saga fans, has penned each film adaptation and is reportedly writing The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn as well.

Twilight Saga novelist Stephenie Meyer will co-produce the movie, along with Wyck Godfrey and Karen Rosenfelt.

Breaking Dawn, perhaps the darkest of the Twilight Saga novels, may or may not be turned into two movies that may or may not be filmed in 3D. Curiously, some quite vocal Robert Pattinson fans don't want Summit Entertainment to stretch Breaking Dawn into two flicks. It seems that they're afraid the lengthy shoot will tie Pattinson down, when he could be doing more challenging work elsewhere.

By the way, because of the success of this blog's Twilight posts, I've decided that as the site's publisher it was time I checked out Stephenie Meyer's novels. I'm currently reading Twilight and – even though I'm neither a teen nor a girl – I'm finding it thoroughly engrossing. In truth, I've been having a lot of trouble putting the damn book down.

Photo: Twilight (Kimberley French / Summit Entertainment)

Bella and Edward, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in Twilight
Bella and Edward in love: Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight

Bill Condon, who will be guiding Twilight Saga leads Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner in Breaking Dawn, is best known for the three feature films he directed in the last twelve years.

Gods and Monsters (1998), was a fictionalized account (based on Christopher Bram's novel Father of Frankenstein) of the twilight of director James Whale's life. Additionally, Condon wrote and directed the Alfred Kinsey biopic Kinsey (2004), starring Liam Neeson, and the musical Dreamgirls (2006), starring Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson.

James WhaleAs I've mentioned in a previous post, James Whale (right), the subject of Condon's Gods and Monsters, would have been an ideal choice for a project like Breaking Dawn. In fact, Whale would probably have been ideal for any of the Twilight saga film adaptations.

Among his quirky character studies disguised as horror movies are Frankenstein (1931), The Old Dark House (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), and The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). All of those feature themes found in the Twilight stories: love, sexuality, revenge, powerlust, social ostracism, the nature of life and death, and what makes a living being “human.”

Boris Karloff's monster, for one, comes across as more human than most warm-blooded men and women out there; by the same token, so does the lovestruck vampire Edward Cullen in the Twilight series.

Unfortunately, James Whale has been dead for more than five decades. Else, the Twilight movies would have been quite different.

Now, the good news for Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, and their fellow Breaking Dawn players is that Bill Condon is a solid actors' director.

The three feature films he has directed in the last twelve years have earned Academy Award nominations for four performers (Ian McKellen, Lynn Redgrave for Gods and Monsters; Laura Linney for Kinsey; Eddie Murphy for Dreamgirls) and one Oscar victory (Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls). Whether or not he'll have similar success with Summit's tentpole franchise remains to be seen.

Breaking Dawn is expected to begin filming in the fall.

Note: This is an edited / revised version of an article originally posted in April 2010.

Photo: Twilight (Summit Entertainment)

April 9 post

Bill Condon may be the Chosen One to direct the last installment(s) of the The Twilight Saga franchise, Breaking Dawn, which will bring back Robert Pattinson's Edward, Kristen Stewart's Bella, and Taylor Lautner's Jacob. Plus an assortment of unusual characters and equally unusual relationships.

Catherine Hardwicke helmed the first movie, Twilight; Chris Weitz directed the second, New Moon; and David Slade was the man behind the camera of the third, Eclipse, which opens June 30. Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, who has been criticized by numerous fans of Stephenie Meyer's novels, has penned each film adaptation.

Bill Condon is one of the Oscar-pedigreed filmmakers approached by Summit Entertainment to tackle The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, perhaps the darkest of the Twilight Saga novels. To date, it's still unclear if Breaking Dawn will be split into two movies – perhaps shot in 3D, perhaps not.

Other filmmakers under consideration at one point or another were Sofia Coppola, Gus Van Sant, and Stephen Daldry, who has recently been announced as the director of the screen adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

Bill Condon won an Academy Award for his (adapted) screenplay for the 1998 psychological drama/fictionalized James Whale biopic Gods and Monsters, which also earned Oscar nominations for Ian McKellen (in the role of the 1930s filmmaker) and Lynn Redgrave (as Whale's maid). Though dramatically uneven, Gods and Monsters had a number of memorable sequences, chiefly thanks to McKellen's and Redgrave's performances.

Condon's Kinsey (2004), a biopic about sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, was equally uneven from a dramatic standpoint. Admittedly, it's nearly impossible to make an effective movie about sex when you can't actually show much of it, while some of the film's “audience friendly” concessions diluted the power of Kinsey's no-holds-barred real-life story. Yet, Kinsey featured several good performances, including those of Liam Neeson in the title role, Academy Award nominee Laura Linney as his wife, and especially Lynn Redgrave in a very touching cameo.

Dreamgirls earned Jennifer Hudson a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award in early 2007, but the much-anticipated musical ended up disappointing both at the box office and the Oscars. A shoo-in for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay, Dreamgirls was shut out in all three categories – though it did get no less than three nominations for Best Song. But that was little consolation.

Also, early in his career Condon directed the cheapo horror flicks Sister, Sister (1987) and Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995), and a handful of made-for-TV thrillers.

So, would Bill Condon be a good choice as director of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn? Well, he could indeed be the right guy in case he has absorbed and retained some of James Whale's vibes after having written and directed Gods and Monsters.

Among Whale's classics are Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Old Dark House, and The Invisible Man. None of these is an out-and-out horror film; in fact, they're all quirky character studies dealing with complex themes such as sexuality, madness, revenge, megalomania, powerlust, social ostracism, the nature of life and death, and what makes a living being “human.”

Considering the plot elements found in Breaking Dawn – even if they must be bowdlerized and dumbed down so the film can get a PG-13 rating – Whale himself would have been ideal for the project. Too bad he's been dead for more than five decades.

Photo: Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Summit Entertainment)

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30 Comments to 'Breaking Dawn': Bill Condon to Direct Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson Fantasy

  1. Adrenalina

    'Scuse me! But sex and babies AND LUST are part of loving someone in a romantic way. It'd have been really weird if Stephenie hadn't shown us that Bella WAS human, with NORMAL desires including SEX.
    There's nothing filthy about 'carnal pleasure' — unless YOU make it so in your own head.
    I'm sure the movie will be GREAT if it stays close to Stephenie's idea.

  2. Ethereal

    Breaking Dawn's just plain gross. i can't believe Meyer wrote crap like that. for one thing, she's completely ruined Edward & Bella's sweet love. lust & sex & babies- they're just teens too- so not cool. its not what i thought she's created at all. she's practically butchered the whole story.

    the plot has so many flaws & so does Meyer's logic. why did she bother writing Twilight at all if this was what she was driving at?? it started out as something great- a whole new world (a world she never utilized though as J.K.Rowling for instance would've done)& the extraordinary, highly complex character of Edward Cullen. but finally it ended up with teen pregnancies, gore & utter meaninglessness.

    just how could the deep, unique,almost spiritual love of Edward & Bella end up in ugly craving for carnal pleasure & all that filth??

    Breaking Dawn is a huge failure & its one of the worst books i've ever read. making it into a movie is gonna be nothing but a huge disaster.

  3. bettyel

    Heather, you asked me when Eclipse will be released. In the United States it will open at midnight on June 30th. By the way Rob, Kristen, Taylor and Dakota will be on Oprah on May 15th. Rob will be on Ellen on May 19. (Wonder if his family will be there like they were for his 2 previous appearances. I love seeing his parents and sisters.)
    As to which is my favorite book, I am torn between Twilight and Breaking Dawn. I loved the wedding and both honeymoons in BD and I like the whole getting to know each other in Twilight.
    I keep reading and re-reading the books and always picture the movie cast in the various parts. I cannot read about Bella and Edward without seeing Kristen and Rob's faces. I will watch him in anything he's in just to keep looking at him. I have to admit that I am completely obsessed by the Twilight Saga, books, movies and Robert Pattison. I would like to see Breaking Dawn in 2 movies so that they don't have to eliminate any scenes Edwards is in and also so that I have something to look forward to after the first Breaking Dawn opens. I hate for the series to end.

  4. Satine

    @HazNuts and Indrani DasGupta,
    I am also an older woman of 51, not a teenager and I agree the focus of these stories need to go back to Edward and Bella. I also concur that New Moon made more money because it was a sequel and so many people believed it would be better than Twilight but in its second week at the the box-office it fell 70%, so that should tell you something that we fans were missing the romance between our leads. Don't get me wrong I like the wolves and Jacob for the wedge they put between the romance to give it interest but not to forsake the love story which is the core of the book. That is why my only problem with Stephanie's last book is the imprinting. They can change it, the movie is based on the novel, it does not have to take everything literally except the main theme the romance between Edward and Bella. After all Lord of the Rings main romance between Arwen and Aragon was just a cliff note in the books. The director expanded their storyline and it made the film better because of it. They can edit out Jacob's imprinting and still make a wonderful movie. I can only dream this will happen.

  5. RomanceFan

    I've read most of the comments above, and was pleased to find rational and credible comments (as opposed to a lot of the hate that gets posted elsewhere). I, too, resisted this series until November of last year, and that was because of the way the media was painting it (all of the footage of teen girls screaming over Rob, etc.) as a teen thing. When I read the books, and I have done so multiple times (like the commenter above…I finish Breaking Dawn, and then start all over again), I don't really even see either Bella or Edward as teenagers, and they really don't come across too much that way in the movies either. I am, however, one of those fans who does not believe that the screenplays have done justice to the love story that is at the core of the whole series. I have come to appreciate the movies more after numerous viewings, but the relationship that Stephenie has created is so deep, sadly, so unique in our self-centered culture, and so special, it just doesn't come across with that level of emotion in the films. Enjoy reading the books…I don't think your inability to put them down will wane much!

  6. Indrani DasGupta

    Excellent blog post. I am one of those older fans. I'm 46 and had assiduously avoided the entire Twilight saga until this year, when a male buddy of mine (who happens to have written two Star Trek: Next Generation episodes — Tin Man and First Contact) recommended it. I was curious when New Moon came out and asked around if it was any good. He told me that he liked the indie quality of the first movie and thought it was shot and edited in an unusual manner. Watch it, he told me. Well, I did and loved it. So did my mother (she's 72). Since then, I've read all four books (I liked Twilight and New Moon best amongst the books; Twilight is the better movie, so far) and have turned my mom onto them as well. I really hope that Summit does not continue to shaft the Edward/Bella love story. It's the heart and soul of the books, and should be the driving force in the movies, as well. Robert Pattinson is a FIND and they ignore his character and his role to their peril. If they have not realized that yet, they need to get their PR policy re-defined. The amount of deleted scenes that had E/B interaction in New Moon had me incredulous. All those scenes were shafted in favor of the wolves! I don't think Chris Weitz understood the books at all. I think he thought the wolves were the main thrust of the stories. Uh, no. They made for “boring”. As has been said earlier, the reason New Moon made more money was because the fan base grew because of the first movie. The farce that was New Moon — cinematically and in terms of the script — made me ache for the whimsical/feminine/quirky/cougary touch that Catherine Hardewicke brought to the first movie. She gets it. I think women of all ages get this story much faster and more intuitively than most men. So my hat is off to you, Andre. You're special. Keep reading and don't forget to read Midnight Sun — whatever there is of it.

  7. Shaun

    Why are Rob fans unhappy? He has nothing to do in most of Breaking Dawn especially the second part. I am a Kristen fan and I want her to be done with Bella ASAP. She has a chance at some great upcoming films if this movie doesn't muck it up with scheduling.

    The only good thing I can say is that she will add another Oscar winner to her list of people she has worked with. Sadly Bella is in virtually every scene except the Jacob parts so any hope that we Kristen fans have of her being done quickly are out the window. It will be cool to see her as a vampire but I wish it was in a better film.

    Summit must have given Bill Condon a very good deal to take on these films. Please keep it in one movie. There is no need for two unless you want to bore the audience to tears.

    I will see both Eclipse and Welcome to the Rileys, but I'm pretty positive that I will love the latter more.

  8. HazNuts

    Just in case Summit, et al read this article, I hope that you also included that the fans hate the fact that the Edward/Bella love story was shafted in New Moon, then in Eclipse based on the leaked script. New Moon might have double the ticket sales than Twilight but that's only because the first movie was so well-received by fans and created new audiences by the time the DVDs come out (I'm one of them, as I've never seen Twilight at the theater and only read the books after I've seen the DVD). New Moon might have had a potential of more repeat viewers (and more box office take) if they continued to stay true to the Edward and Bella love story (and even add to it) and not spend so much screen time on Taycob and the wolves.

  9. LBear

    Oh, I just read the comments above - yes, it is quite possible that you were reading the IMDb. Rob's fans over there are not happy about the possibility of BD being made in two movies, at all. Partly because it ties him down to the saga, partly because the novel is strongly disliked by many. It's really a lose/lose situation.

  10. LBear

    Of course we want only one movie. Breaking Dawn is a horrible, horrible novel, many fans of the saga HATED it. Why would we want to see Rob make a fool of himself in a crapfest like that, TWICE?!

  11. McMilliss

    For the purpose of the books, I think BD needs to be in two parts, but I am more of a Pattinson fan than Twilight fan (altho I do really like the story) and I want him to be doing more challenging material so I really would prefer just the one BD film (albeit long).

  12. bettyel

    Let me chime in as a 74 year old happily married (48 years) grandmother. I love the Twilight Saga books, after being introduced to them by my then 12 year old granddaughters, and have also read each of them multiple times including Midnight Sun (which I wish Stephenie would finish). I enjoyed both movies and am eagerly anticipating Eclipse and then Breaking Dawn. I think Robert is an excellent actor (and one of the best looking, and sexiest men on the planet) and will see anything he is in.
    I, too, hope Breaking Dawn is shot in two parts one right after the other, because he needs to look 17 and by then will be 24 1/2. Kristen, Taylor and the rest of the cast are also very good.

    I am far from a prude, but it's nice to read a book that concentrates on the love story and one in which no one curses, smokes, drinks alcohol, has premarital sex etc. Stephenie Meyer also does not have superfluous gore, and doesn't describe what gore there is in great detail like so many books and movies do today. For me, all of the above are the reasons I am so drawn to these books and almost obsessed by them.
    I deeply regret that Summit (after the first movie) has tried to emphasize the action and de-emphasize Bella and Edward's relationship since I think that is the strength of the series. I hope that Bill Condon will go back to Catherine Hardwicke's concept and allow Edward and Bella to be the main characters.

  13. Janna

    I resisted reading Twilight for two years despite the countless recommendations from my students. I got sick and the only book left unread at home was Twilight. I finished all four by the time I went back to work three days later.

  14. judith saucedo

    I am a great grandmother fan. I too feel that the movie needs to be done in 2, so you can be true to the book. Too much in it for only one movie. I have the books on cd and listen to them over and over again.I also think that they should be done one right after the other. I don't care how much time between that they come to the theater's. Just so they are done so that Robert can go on with his career. It dosn't matter what movie Robert is in I will be going multible times.He is such a good actor.He can pull of any part. I have read Bel Ami and Water for elephants. Can't wait for them to come the the theaters.Don't know anything about the director,guess I am too old to keep up. But don't think it matters Robert will make the movie what it is,(Great).It can't turn out anything other then great if Robert is in it.

  15. Elaine

    I can't want to see Eclipse.Rob and Kristen are perfect couple.

  16. Andre

    >>>It's nice to know you actually are finding out what we've been talking about the books being very enticing LOL!

    Two nights ago, I was up until 4am reading it.

    >>>>But I think you have it wrong. I don't know what Twilight sites you're reading but the fan sites I read want 2 films. The book is big enough for two.

    Someone sent me an e-mail several weeks ago, shortly after we posted something on the upcoming “Breaking Dawn” release.

    There was a link to a forum where a number of fans were complaining that “Breaking Dawn” might be turned into two movies. They were Pattinson fans. From what I remember, it was a discussion forum of sorts, not a Twilight or Pattinson fan site.

    It actually may have been the IMDb. Perhaps the forum on the Pattinson page? Or the “Breaking Dawn” page? I can't recall.

  17. adree

    True Fans Kristen and Rob did not want two BD movies. We care more for career profession of Rob and Kristen. We Want see Rob and Kristen in other movies.

  18. Denise

    The Twilight fanbase is more than teen girls. I am 48 and have read the books plus all the extras and Midnight Sun. I should add that I have read them many times because the first time through I read so fast I was sure I missed a lot. They really are hard to put down.
    Eclipse was my favorite book and I will be at the midnight release on June 30 with my 40 year old friends.
    As a fan, I don't know anyone that doesn't want Breaking Dawn filmed in two parts. I want to see them stick to the story as much as possible and it would be difficult for that to happen in one 2 hour film.

  19. ShariG

    Just wanted to add one thing. I too am not a teenager. I am in my 40s. The fact that these films have been linked to teenagers is a disservice to the books and the films. A good love story is suitable for all ages. I agree with those who would like to see Breaking Dawn in two films. There is just too much in it for one movie and I don't want anything left out. After three previous films, they really need to do the finale justice. We waited a long time for some resolution to the Edward/Bella story. I hope they don't skimp.

  20. ShariG

    I completely can empathize with you in terms of not being able to put Twilight down. I resisted the entire series until last November when I rented the movie and completely fell in love with the Edward/Bella love story. I immediately bought all four books and have literally read them over and over. When I finish Breaking Dawn I start all over again with Twilight. Having seen the movie first, I picture Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in my head while I read. They are the perfect couple to portray Edward and Bella. This is an incredibly popular series of films and books for a reason. A large part is that the stories are compelling, but a large part is also that the actors have incredible chemistry and completely embody the characters. I cannot wait for Breaking Dawn to be filmed, my favorite of the four books.

  21. Benny

    I avoided the Twilight books like the plague. I could NEVER read those books because I am an old girl-in my fifties. Well, I started the first one this year 2010 and then I could not put any of them down. Love the movies too. So there!

  22. Jersey

    Oh I forgot a huge part: Bella learning how to use her vamp powers that Aro had foreseen. That takes time as well. So, I don't know how it can be just two movies. Stephanie wants two movies; that's why I think she's a producer as well.

    Just don't let Stephanie have anything to do with selecting Bella's wedding gown because the woman has no taste (see her New Moon premiere outfit…she looks like an old school marm, plus Bella's engagement ring isn't that great).

    Condon has great taste in costumes, production etc… I'm sooo glad he was selected. I love his work. I think the wedding is going to be awesome!! He has a great eye for production. I squeeing like a tween!

  23. Jersey

    It's nice to know you actually are finding out what we've been talking about the books being very enticing LOL! But I think you have it wrong. I don't know what Twilight sites you're reading but the fan sites I read want 2 films. The book is big enough for two. The movie cannot fit everything in it, it's impossible. When you read Breaking Dawn you will see. You have the engagement/wedding/honeymoon; that has to be at least the first hour; then you have to go thru the pregnancy/Jacob becoming an alpha & his involvement with helping the Cullens re: Bella and the pregnancy/the birth. That's the next hour. We still haven't dealt w/Bella becoming a vampire/the development and growth of Nessie/the imprinting/Charlie seeing Bella after the change/Alice leaving/the gathering of the vampires for the final showdown w/the Volturi then the showdown with the Volturi. It cannot be done in one movie unless each segment is only 15 minutes long.

    So again, I don't know who thinks it's going to be done in one movie but they need a clue. Plus, rumor has it that they are filming both movies back to back so Robert will not be tied up. He'll be doing Breaking Dawn then once that's completed he's done.

    Robert has several movies being released in the meantime so he has plenty of diverse roles people can see.

    Condon is an excellent choice. As for trying to remove the “teen stigma” the PRESS did that. The Twilight fan base is way more diverse than what the press presents. That's why Breaking Dawn isn't for tweens and wasn't written for tweens of young teens. Stephanie initially wrote Twilight for young adults but her publisher made the book into a young teen book.

    I'm glad that it's moving into more adult themes in Breaking Dawn. It's about time we finally see Edward and Bella together. But I digress.

    Eclipse is going to be bigger than New Moon and Breaking Dawn is going to be bigger than them all.

  24. Cindy

    Great article. I'm very excited about Bill Condon. He's a fine choice and he's what they need to tackle the highly controversial and intense scenes found in Breaking Dawn. I am also one of those fans who would prefer one long three hour movie. I'll watch Pattinson over and over again in any movie, but would like to see him move on to other great roles.

  25. DeeBee

    Can't put the damn book down, huh? See, we told you!

  26. miami

    Exactly how has scummit been trying to erase the teen girl stigma? They forced taycob down our throats for all of the New Moon promotion and alienated the majority of Edward/Bella fans. They are still doing it with Eclipse. The script does not include that much of Edward and Bella…they are focusing on Victoria and Riley and Bella and Jake. I'm so disgusted with scummit and the way they've ruined these movies and I'm positive I'm not alone. Just about everyone I know has decided they're done with it because the Edward/Bella love story is not being told…that's what fans loved from the books! hello? I watched the Eclipse trailer and I wondered what book Melissa Rosencrap read because my copy of Eclipse didn't have zombies in it! I predict in BD scummit will have Jake and Bella get married and Edward will fall in love with Leah. Someone will have to tell me about it because I'm never going to see it.

  27. Satine

    Correction, I meant to say Jacob imprinting on Renesmee. I hated it and I hope if they are going to do the imprinting that he would imprint on Leah. I always felt sorry for Leah in the book. I apologize for the error.

  28. Satine

    I like Bill Condon and his adapatation of Gods and Monsters. I think he will do especially well with the intimate scenes between Bella and Edward on their honeymoon. I do hope he and Melissa rewrite the second half of BD because I personally hated the whole imprinting issue, especially Jacob imprinting on Bella.

  29. W. Holland

    Yeah, well there are four books it should take you four days plus go the Stephanie Meyers website to read the out-takes and Midnight Sun.

  30. Mose Bratu

    i really love Twilight. this movie is super great that we watched it several times with some of my friends. '