On a dark, rainy night outside of Seattle, Bella Swan is at a life crossroads. With an army of vampires out for blood (hers), she must hide out in the woods between two supernatural hotties.
Vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) wants to protect his freezing mortal girlfriend from frostbite but must defer to his arch enemy, werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner).
“After all, I’m hotter than you,” Jacob says and then wraps around Bella in what could only be described as werewolf spooning.
For those keeping score between Team Jacob and Team Edward, it’s a laugh-out-loud moment in the new film “Eclipse,” opening Friday.
Ask Pattinson on a sunny spring morning in Beverly Hills his rebuttal to the “I’m hotter” line and he drops the trademark sullen puss and actually smiles.
“What is my comeback? There is actually nothing you can say,” says Pattinson, who arrives with shorn locks.
“I loved those confrontational scenes,” he says. “I get to push Taylor Lautner around. Of course, I was supposed to grab his shoulder to freak him out and turn the scene upside down.”
There was only one glitch, thanks to Lautner’s workout routine.
“I grabbed, but his shoulder is too big to get a grip on. That was embarrassing,” Pattinson admits. “But I got him back when he had to dress up in a gray spandex wolf suit. I would pat his head like he was a dog.”
Lautner mentions that the “hot” line was definitely tongue in cheek. “It was hard to get through that one with a straight face. I had to look Rob in the eye when I said it.”
“The first time, we did the scene in the tent, I was really freaking out from claustrophobia,” Pattinson admits. “I couldn’t get it together and kept forgetting my lines.
“Kristen [Stewart] who was pretending to be asleep on the floor saw that I was freaking out and halfway through the take, she suddenly opened her eyes and tried to make me laugh.”
He rolls his eyes.
“It’s the most serious scene in the whole movie,” he says. “I wanted to strangle her!
“We couldn’t get one take right because I was trying to hold back laughter, which I guess made me look more alive.”
For her part, Kristen Stewart, who plays Bella, says the scene was torture for her, too, despite the fact that she was in a tent with two of People’s Sexiest Men Alive.
“It was so hot in that sleeping bag and the takes were long,” Stewart says. “When Taylor took his shirt off to cuddle me, I was thinking, Oh no, I don’t need to sweat any more.”
The film is a romantic love triangle between Bella, Jacob and Edward. It’s obvious whom she will choose, but there is a Jacob kiss along the way just to be sure.
“Bella is pushed to the point where a decision needs to be made about her future,” Stewart says. “Things have changed. She’s gung-ho, courageous and brave. She also takes a step back and says, ‘I want to reconsider my options and how I’m treating everyone.’ She knows she’s being a bit selfish to test her feelings for Jacob.
“But the choice has already been made,” Stewart says. “As soon as she saw Edward in the first film, her life partner choice was done.”
Pattinson seems a bit incensed by it all. “Have I ever gotten into a fight like this over the love of a woman? Yeah. But I don’t know if it was about love. It was probably about pride.”
He did appreciate a good movie love triangle. “It was good because I never do anything in these movies except with Kristen,” says Pattinson. “Letting Edward have petty emotions like being jealous of Jacob and not being able to control himself because he gets under his skin so much is a great thing.”
The film also shows romantic hero Edward as a possessive boyfriend trying to work on his issues.
“His flaws in the first two movies were caused by his dislocation from reality,” Pattinson says. “He finds one thing to hold onto, which is Bella Swan. That’s where his possessiveness comes from because he doesn’t want to lose her.
“But he’s also accepting now that he’s part of this contemporary world. All the things deemed to be flaws are now fading away. He’s coming out of his shell.
“At the end of ‘Breaking Dawn,’ he will basically be a normal 17-year-old guy. Just a bit pale,” he says.
Stewart admits that Bella has strange taste in men. “I think this film plays on the idea of girls finding the perfect man. Everyone has that ideal. We’re not shoving it into their heads with this film. But little girls have this idea that there could be something perfect for them and they could be better than the rest of the girls because they have the perfect guy who won’t screw them over.
“What I love about ‘Twilight’ is that none of our characters are perfect,” she continues. “Sure, the guys are obsessive and possessive. They’re all so screwed up, which is why they go together so well. They accept each other for who they are.”
‘Bring out the carnivore in him’
Pattinson says working with
their third director was a bit of a challenge.
“On the first ‘Twilight,’ everyone had very specific ideas about the characters and everyone was butting heads the whole time,” Pattinson says. “When Chris Weitz did ‘New Moon,’ he liked the first film and what the actors were doing. We followed that road again.
“But our new director, David Slade, wanted to do everything completely different,” he says. “We talked about character development and consistency. Then David said, ‘It doesn’t matter. Let’s do it differently this time.’ That was great because I didn’t feel like I was stuck playing the same character.”
What has changed about Edward? “I guess what we fought for this time is not to make it . . . so solemn,” Pattinson says. There’s a new speed to Edward Cullen. He is always so calculated. His decisions are never rash. David wanted him to speed it up.”
Director Slade adds, “What I was getting at with Rob was that I really wanted to make sure his character was dangerous. I really wanted to bring out the carnivore in him. He has to decapitate with his teeth and he hadn’t done that except a little bit in ‘Twilight.’
“Underlying everything in this movie is his danger. And that’s a different way of looking at Edward.”
The truth is Pattinson never looks at Edward Cullen. He just saw the first movie for the first time ever.
“I just saw ‘Twilight’ on TV for the first time a few days ago,” he says. “I have a few songs on the soundtrack and it was so bizarre to hear my songs coming out of the TV. It was more than a little nerve-wracking to listen to myself and see myself.”
Stewart is thrilled that there are two more outings to see more of these characters. She’s happy to provide a glimpse into the double feature of “Breaking Dawn.”
She’s already thinking of Bella’s upcoming wedding to Edward.
“I know Bella will want a classic, simple and beautiful dress that’s really feminine in either white or cream. It will be monumental nuptials. He wants marriage so badly, which is a nice twist because usually it’s the girl who really wants it.”
As for the future, Pattinson needs to grow out his now short hair for an upcoming period film for the back-to-back double feature that will be “Breaking Dawn.”
“Maybe Edward had a haircut,” he says. “I didn’t really think about growing it back when I got the cut. But the good news is vampires can cut their hair.”