My dear friend Kimmy from PagetoPremiere.com was one of the interviewers at Stephenie Meyer‘s Q&A session along with a handful of other fansites. Here’s what Stephenie got to reveal for us.
Kimmy (Page to Premiere): Which actress or actor’s performance has been the most faithful to how you imagined the character?
Stephenie Meyer: This is how I judge that. Generally I’m very easily able to keep my mental vision of the character separate from the movie version, and they’re two very separate people. Though physically, not the closest resemblance that I’ve worked with, Saoirse really got in my head. She kind of took over the character for me. I can kind of work to see my Melanie who was older and darker and different, but she sort of stole Wanda from my mind. So, I think she’d have to be the one that nailed it the closest.
Elena (Fangirlish): With adaptations, we often find that screenwriters and directors have to make allowances and take their own liberties when putting something on screen and I was wondering if you consider this a relatively true adaptation of the book or if there were a lot of liberties taken to make it more visually appealing.
Stephenie: I feel like this one is probably the most true to the book of any of my work that has been adapted. Of course there’s the huge liberty being taken of shortening it down to 120 pages and so there are all kinds of scenes that I love, little scenes, big scenes that you just have to peel away to be able to do this as a movie. And that’s the first event, the great big hurdle at the very beginning. And after that once we got down to the core story everything felt true to who the characters were. Some of the little changes were actually things that I loved. I felt like Andrew had such a good sense for the world that he came up with stuff that I wished I had. Like his seakers, they don’t use guns. Diane eventually gets there because she’s sort of having a breakdown but his Seakers just use a spray that sort of knocks people out and I was thinking “of course that’s what they would do!” My book was all about them having this inner struggle to have to use human weapons. I was kind of bummed I hadn’t done that. But mostly at this point it just felt really how the book feels to me.
Melissa (Strictly Robsten): In my opinion, much of Twilight’s success lends itself to Rob [Pattinson] and Kristen [Stewart]’s chemistry. Would you say that the boys [Max Irons & Jake Abel] and Saoirse [Ronan] have that same kind of chemistry and would you say that that was key in making the decision for casting them for each of their respective roles?
Stephenie: Absolutely! Chemistry was the number one thing we were looking for when we were auditioning. Once we knew Saoirse was in, it all became about who is going to complement her on the screen, how is it going to make you feel. The interesting thing is that there are two different relationships happening here because it’s not Saoirse with Max and Saoirse with Jake; it’s Wanda with Jake and Melanie with Max. She’s two different people and she’s so amazingly talented—it’s very distinct. We actually had to have two very separate kinds of chemistry because Wanda doesn’t fall in love the same way that Melanie does. That was really interesting and I think it worked out fantastically. I remember watching their auditions, and that’s the first thing Andrew [Niccol] told me about Max—because I wasn’t around for that one because it was in London—and he said “wait, the chemistry, you can cut it with a knife in that room!”— and it was totally there. And then Jake, who I have always loved as an actor and he just has that leading man charisma, I was really nervous to watch his audition because I thought he was going to be really great for it. And then it was totally there! Oh man! I still remember this hug that he gave [Saoirse] where it was the shape of them suddenly was something new and really interesting. I was like Oh! So there! That was the part of it; that was how we cast and I feel like it really came through.
Bekah (That’s Normal): We were wondering if you find yourself protective or defensive of The Host when the movie and the fandom and all the expectations are going to be compared to Twilight. Do you feel an extra protection of The Host that you might not have felt had Twilight not existed first?
Stephenie: Absolutely. You really nailed it. It’s hard because it’s such a different book for me. And it’s my favorite book. Twilight has a passionate following & also a passionate hatred attached to it. You know it was very double sided. For all the good there was equal negative. And I feel like the negative is coming into play a lot here & it makes me really angry- like when someone picks on your kid at school. Because this kid hasn’t done anything wrong. This kid is TOTALLY innocent. And these performances these actors gave us– the caliber that we have going on here. William freakin’ Hurt comes in & owns this movie. and then you got Andrew Niccol and his amazing, beautiful vision. And it is so not fair to judge this movie. And then on the other side of it– would it have gotten made if Twilight hadn’t been a big deal? Probably not so I just have to take the good with the bad. But I totally get defensive of this one & very mother hen on it!
Lori (Twilight Lexicon): About the future of the series: When the Twilight films were cast and made, you had completed the series. Now you’ve finished the first Host film but the series isn’t finished. How much do you think your writing is going to be influenced by the actors and the set and what has been played out on the film?
Stephenie: I imagine there might be a little bit of bleed. But I don’t think it will be too bad because I had the sequels outlined before we started making the film. It’s one of those things that’s been back burnered for so long because obviously there was Twilight stuff that had to be finished. And you know filming all these movies has taken a whole lot of time. So it’s been pushed into the back. I’d love to get it done soon enough that it would all make sense moving forward with movies, but I don’t think it will change too much because I have – You know what changes is that life changes. It’s funny! I had the characters all kind of laid out and as I was working on the sequel, another character, who’s kind of inspired from another part of my life, suddenly cropped up that was new and is suddenly affecting the story which is interesting. If I had written the story three years ago, it would be a different story than it’s going to be. And if I wrote it five years from now, it would probably be somebody else that would pop up into it. So it’s interesting just how your own life comes into play, but I don’t think that the actors will affect me too much.
Lisa (Twilight Moms): Will we get a glimpse of any of the previous worlds or lifeforms that wanderer or any of the souls had before?
Stephenie: That’s a… that’s a sad question because the answer is no. And that makes me really sad. We had some really great ideas but this was actually an independent film. This wasn’t done with a studio and so we the budget was, I mean, it was a big budget for an independent movie, but it was really tight and we were making decisions like, ‘ok we can only afford one helicopter in this scene so we have to write it back from three.’ And we actually filmed the very last, there was… the last scene of the movie was in the script and then we took it out we had to sacrifice it to pay for some other things, and then we ended up being able to save enough money that we did go and shoot the last scene. Right after the Twilight Premiere of Breaking Dawn 2 we actually didn’t get to sleep for like three days straight there. [laughs] And so we, I mean even the last scene in the movie which, when you see it, I don’t think you’ll be able to imagine it without that but there were a lot of sacrifices that had to be made and unfortunately seeing those other worlds was one of them. But the good part of that is that in my head I see a really… I know what the bears planet looks like and what they look like and its amazing, but there is that fear that if somebody else would do it and it wouldn’t be as amazing. And what if it was cheesy? What if the bats looked ridiculous and ugly? And then that kind of ruins it for people so at least now peoples’ imaginary worlds aren’t going to be tainted.
You can read the full article that has more questions for Stephenie at Page to Premiere Network.