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Chris Weitz talks about his ‘New Moon’ experience

Chris Weitz talked to Venice Magazine about his latest film, A Better Life, but he answered a couple of Twilight: New Moon related questions, including what it was like to take on such a highly visible film, complete with big action sequences, special effects, and a large budget.

What was it like when you started Twilight: New Moon, which was such a highly visible project?

For me, it was tremendously refreshing because I knew that people were going to go see it. So there’s no pressure on me, as far as I’m concerned. Instead of treating it in any way like a popcorn movie, I just decided to treat it like a big, widescreen romance. That conditioned getting Alexandre Desplat to write the score and getting Javier Aguirresarobe, who’s one of the great DPs in the world, to shoot it. I knew that if I was true to the spirit of the book, there were all kinds of things I could get away with in terms of what we were doing with the camera and the lushness of the colors and the design. It was a complete delight. Kristen Stewart is an amazing actress. Really, she’s an independent film actress of the highest caliber. So she will bring to what’s essentially a melodrama these very harsh emotions. Coming out the other end of it when we were marketing the film, that was madness — in a very enjoyable way for me because I kind of got to be the Ringo Starr of the group. We traveled around Europe, the big three and me, and the biggest it got was Munich’s Olympic Stadium with 23,000 screaming fans who were there just to see us say hello and answer a few softball questions. There were moments where you felt that this could get dangerous or this could get really weird, really fast. It was rather extraordinary.

Having worked on these effects-heavy films, do you find it challenging to oversee both the big action scenes as well as the relationships between the characters?

Yes, it’s enough to drive you slightly batty. With Golden Compass, that was as big a movie as New Line had ever made. It’s certainly the biggest movie I’ve ever made. It cost a tremendous amount of money and we had all kinds of resources at our disposal. And at the same time it had to be an intimate story about the coming of age of a little girl, but it’s also about parallel universes and it was also about original sin and all kinds of stuff. And eventually, it became too much for the studio to want to deal with on straightforward terms. They realized that they had gotten into a story that was far more controversial than they had ever thought. They wanted Harry Potter and this story was inherently not. So to be honest, doing New Moon — even though it’s a very big movie and we had a big budget and a lot of special effects — this was, for me, technically easy.

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