TORONTO — Eclipse director David Slade knows that ardent Twilight fans are champing at the bit for any salacious scenes or torrid insights they can glean from extras included in this weekend’s DVD and Blu-ray release.
Stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson provide voiceover commentary for the entire film, revealing a casual and affectionate rapport that superfans will likely dissect for clues about their real-life love affair.
But the British filmmaker, who helmed the third instalment of the massively popular teen vampire series, says he gave little thought to what may end up on the disc during filming, noting he is not a fan of voiceover commentary in general.
“I don’t do commentaries, I can’t listen to them either,” Slade said from Los Angeles, noting he only tried it once for his dark theatrical debut Hard Candy, starring a young Ellen Page.
“All of this kind of cathartic outpouring and work just seemed to be just reduced to these two hours of crappy anecdotes. I just really found it so dissatisfying and at the same time, it seemed to rob the film.”
Arguably, there are no substantial revelations in the Stewart and Pattinson patter. Tidbits include the fact Stewart wore a wig throughout the shoot, a bear wandered onto set one day, Pattinson worries there are too many kissing scenes for younger fans and that (surprise!) Vancouver weather played havoc with the schedule.
The pair have little to say if neither of them are onscreen (“We’re not in this scene, so it’s irrelevant,” Pattinson jokes at one point) and much of their jovial back-and-forth is laden with apparent inside jokes that don’t translate well.
“(Co-star) Taylor (Lautner) did want to be here, but he’s got better stuff to do,” Pattinson says as Stewart giggles. “He’s working out right now.”
Perhaps adding to the disjointed atmosphere is the fact that Pattinson and Stewart were in separate cities when they recorded the audio tracks. Stewart was in Montreal, shooting the upcoming Jack Kerouac adaptation, On the Road, while Pattinson was in Los Angeles.
Slade said he didn’t get to know his young stars well, but noted that Pattinson and Stewart appeared to be “very tight.”
“When we were not shooting or rehearsing we were sleeping. It’s not like we hung out and had beers or anything like that. And we’re such a vast cast . . . that really your time is so devoted that I never really got a chance to get to know them.”
In Eclipse” Bella (played by Stewart) is forced to choose between her love for the vampire Edward (played by Pattinson) and her friendship with the werewolf Jacob (played by Lautner), knowing that her decision could ignite a large scale war.
The two-disc DVD and single-disc Blu-ray include extended and deleted scenes, a six-part making-of documentary, music videos and a photo gallery.
Slade comes to the franchise off directing the vampire chiller 30 Days of Night and the psychological thriller Hard Candy, about a teenage girl who targets and tortures a suspected pedophile.
Page turned 17 while shooting Hard Candy, and Slade recalls that the budding star seemed remarkably poised.
“She was astonishingly advanced in terms of her intellect for anyone I’ve ever met of that age,” he says of the Halifax native, who went on to star in the sleeper hit Juno and last summer’s blockbuster, Inception.
Although it features plenty of action sequences, the dreamy Eclipse was a sharp turn from the edgier fare Slade had helmed in the past. He admits he feared that joining the juggernaut franchise — based on the massively popular Stephenie Meyer book series — would derail him from his sharper-edged interests.
“I never think about my career when I go into these things. (Twilight) should have ended it,” says Slade.
“Here I was having done a thriller and a horror movie — why did I have the audacity to make a romantic fantasy? How can I continue to make genre films? Well, maybe I don’t want to continue to make genre films. But actually, funnily enough, it seems the people have come to consensus that I did OK with this particular film so they’re going to continue to let me do other kinds of films, too.”