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Forum and wire reports, Published November 19 2009

Adapting "New Moon" to film was challenging

It’s almost here.

Tonight fans of the uber-popular “Twilight” book series can finally see “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” the second movie adaptation in the franchise.

The film opens at Century 10 in Fargo with 10 midnight screenings of the anticipated movie – but, be aware that all the midnight screenings are sold out.

Regardless of when they see it, “Twilight” fans are eager for the film, wondering how much of the book will be transferred to the big screen.

For instance, one big decision director Chris Weitz had to face was whether to stay true to the “New Moon” book, which has Edward away from Bella for much of the story, or to make some major changes.

“It’s tricky. You don’t want too much Edward because then you lose the really important sense of missing him. On some level you don’t want too little because everybody loves Rob (Pattinson),” Weitz says. “The crucial difference between the book and the film is that when Bella hallucinates Edward’s voice she also sees him. That’s a nice little flavoring, a little dose of Edward when we need it.”

With that in mind, here are some of the movie’s actors, and the film’s screenwriter talking about how the story was adapted into a, roughly, two-hour presentation.

How is “New Moon” different from “Twilight”?

Kristen Stewart, who plays Bella in the movie: It’s very much rooted in the story. The reason “Twilight” felt sort of kinetic, like the energy was sort of hard to grasp ... was because the whole story was about not being able to grasp that energy but going after it with full force and not caring about the consequences. That sort of infiltrates “New Moon” because she’s been told that she was absolutely wrong, so now it’s a more mature, considerate approach to the same ideas. Tonally, “New Moon” is different in that it also becomes more dangerous, it becomes more real. She finally opens her eyes and she’s like, “Oh, I’ve woken up in Wonderland. It’s really scary. It’s actually scarier than I thought it was going to be” because there are werewolves and all the bad vampires want to kill her and all of that, so tonally it could not be more different.

Taylor Lautner, who plays Jacob: It takes everything Bella and Edward created in “Twilight” and destroys it at the beginning when he leaves, and it has to rebuild it, or Jacob has to rebuild Bella and then it’s kind of destroyed at the end again. It’s an emotional roller coaster.

How challenging was it to adapt this book with the character of Edward Cullen being absent for so much of the story?

Melissa Rosenberg, screenwriter of “New Moon”: Going in, that was going to be the issue. Not only Edward, but the entire Cullen clan disappears, the vampires who you’ve come to know and love disappear throughout the middle of the book. In the book, Bella very much keeps them alive in her mind. He is a presence, and because it’s all inside her mind, the reader is with him. The challenge here was how do I do that in a movie. I think we have found a way to stay true to the tone of the book and true to the intention of the book but to have him remain a physical presence as well. And you’re starting a whole new relationship with Jacob. Yes, there was a relationship with Jacob in “Twilight,” but this is when it happens.

If you go

“The Twilight Saga: New Moon” premieres at midnight tonight with 10 screenings at Century 10 in Fargo. The midnight screenings are sold out, but the film will be playing all weekend and beyond.

Coming up

Read a review of “New Moon” in Friday’s Forum.

The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times and McClatchy Newspaper wire services contributed to this report

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