Monday, November 24, 2008

If you're the parent of a tween or teen, chances are good you've heard talk of Bella, Edward, and the other characters in Stephenie Meyer's bestselling young-adult vampire saga. And if you've somehow managed to be elude this phenomenon, that's sure to change when Twilight devours movie screens later this month.

Given the millions of devoted fans of all ages worldwide, the speculation that Twilight and its already planned New Moon sequel could top the Harry Potter franchise doesn't seem terribly hyperbolic. And as a parent, that means the peer pressure -- and pleas from your child -- will be intense.

To help you make an informed decision, we consulted a group of parents well-versed in Twilight. Lisa Hansen is the site owner and "coven mother" of, which she launched nearly a year-to-the-date before the movie's November 21 premiere. Already, her site has 16,000 registered members -- and is currently adding nearly 100 new ones a day. Members must be at least 25-years-old, a mom, or married.

Hansen first became aware of the Twilight series a few summers ago when she was a leader at a girls camp where the book was not allowed. Then, not only were all the teenage girls in the neighborhood talking about it, but they were also telling her she had to read it. "I thought, what is the deal with it? So I read it -- and was instantly obsessed." The desire to talk with other adults about the books lead her to post on a MySpace group, which soon morphed into

But as big of a Twilight fan as she is, Hansen is the first to acknowledge that giving your child the green light on the series is a personal choice. "As a parent, myself, I know that it is not my place to tell any other parent what is best for their child," she says. A credo she communicates to the young girls who have emailed her, pleading that she tell their parents why they should be allowed to read the book.

So to help you make that personal decision, Hansen and her fellow TwilightMOMs helped us put together this look at what parents should know about Twilight.
It's not a scary vampire tale with Satanic references.

In fact, the author is a Mormon and she provides a non-traditional take on vampires. "The Cullens are vampires who choose to abstain from feeding on humans, value human life and protect it, and do not possess the typical vampire traits," says InnamorataDiTwilight. Juliek22 adds, "The characters are not evil, and the bad guys are not dark enough to cause nightmares."
There is no sex, drugs, or graphic violence, only some mild sensuality.

Compared to other works targeted at kids in the tween-teen range, most consider Twilight to be quite mild. Comments ranged from "I think this is one of the cleanest series out there for young adults," by Katieb to "The violence in the series is far less graphic than the anything contained in the last three Harry Potter books," by Julie&Jasper. However, BeautifulDisaster cautions, "The books contain more mature themes as the book series progresses; the first book is suitable for a younger audience, while the last is, in my opinion, best read with a bit more life experience."
Twilight isn't just a chick thing.

Along with appealing to a wide variety of ages, it crosses the gender barrier. "Plenty of guys are interested, including several of my male 7th grade students," says BeautifulDisaster. And Suelibevg describes the appeal this way, "Boys like the vampire aspect and the cars!! Girls like the romance."
Actions, choices, and their consequences are the series' primary themes.

Says AZmomx2, "The thing that I think was my favorite is the idea of choices...that you can shape your future by the choices you make. As an adult, I know this. As a teenager, I often felt like I was on this 'ride of life' and had no control over things." And following on that, Raeniece says, "Even when a wrong has been righted or amends made, that doesn't mean the consequences from those previous choices can be avoided. They have to be dealt with."
Beware the "Twilight Zone."

That's the phrase self-professed "Twilighters" have used to describe the obsession that leads them to re-read the books, spends hours each day on the dozens of fansites that have sprung up, and turn their rooms into Twilight boutiques. Lion<3lamb class="fullpost">

The series is an easy sell to "non-readers."

As with the Harry Potter books, the Twilight saga appeals to kids who are resistant to reading. "Even my youngest daughter (12 yrs) who absolutely hates reading, gave in and started Twilight, says Mio Crepuscolo. "She would disappear for hours at a time to read." HELIKESBRUNETTES agrees and warns, "This book will really engage them, probably like nothing they've ever read before, so make sure they do their homework BEFORE reading daily, or it will probably never get done!"
Twilight promotes additional reading.

The series is peppered with references to works of literature. "Twilight will have your children wanting to read works referenced within (Pride & Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Romeo & Juliet, The Merchant of Venice)," says IsabellaCullen. And the movie's Bella and Edward even pose for an American Library Association poster.
There are far worse idols for your child to glom onto.

"Bella does her homework AND cooks!" jokes Centaur1201. Chocoholic agrees, "The main character is a 'good girl.' She cares about people, she is obedient, does her homework, is kind to her friends, does not drink, smoke, or party, and is home by curfew. She is responsible and conscientious. What more could we ask for?"
Ultimately, the decision depends on your child.

The movie has a PG-13 rating. The book advises 12 and up. Some of the TwilightMOMS have read the book to kids as young as five; other say they wouldn't let kids read it until at least seventh grade. All recommend basing the decision on the age and maturity of your child. "Some children are less mature than others to handle different issues," says TheMacPack5. "There are kids out there that simply would not 'get it' just yet. And by all means, wait until they are ready. But once they are, they will LOVE The Twilight Saga!!"
Allow yourself to be "bitten" by Twilight.

As fans of the series, it's not too surprising that these moms would recommend them to adults. But their encouragement goes beyond that. Says Green Mountain Mom, "Read the books yourself! Chances are you will enjoy them, and certainly you'll have the opportunity for conversation on topics ranging from funny moments to intense emotional conflict." Bookbabe agrees, "Talk about the books you read together. This is an excellent way to discuss the values you want your child to take with them into adulthood."


LOS ANGELES - The vampire romance "Twilight" drained the box office in its opening weekend, taking in $70.6 million.

Catherine Hardwicke's film also enjoyed the biggest opening ever for a female director, blowing away the previous standard of $41.1 million set by Mimi Leder 's " Deep Impact " in 1998.

Drawing from its huge fan base of teenage girls, who fell for Stephenie Meyer's novel of forbidden love between brooding vampire Edward Cullen and bookish high schooler Bella Swan , "Twilight" made a whopping $20,636 per theater, according to Sunday morning estimates.

And the fangirls will get another taste soon enough: Summit Entertainment, which released "Twilight," announced during the weekend that it's going ahead with production of "New Moon," based on the second book in Meyer's internationally best-selling series. Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart will return as its star-crossed lovers, but whether Hardwicke will be at the helm again is still being determined.

The laid-back Hardwicke, who went bodyboarding at sunset Saturday to take her mind off this high-pressure weekend, said Sunday morning that she was heading to a meeting later in the day to discuss her possible involvement in "New Moon."

"I want to be sure that it's going to be done right. I don't want to rush into it," she said. "It's not like ` Friday the 13th ' or ` Halloween ,' you can't just do it super fast and knock another one out. I want to understand their plans and all that."

Hardwicke, whose previous films include "Thirteen" and " Lords of Dogtown ," also said she was thrilled about the prospect that the success of "Twilight" will inspire other women and young girls to pursue a career in filmmaking.

"I hope not just women but all minorities get enthused and encouraged by it. I look at the ( Directors Guild of America ) calendar, at the pictures of everyone that had different movies each month, and it's usually 22-29 different directors, and almost every month there's one female and maybe one minority," she said. "We've been having a lot of events, talking to a lot of fans, and so many kids of course are madly in love with Robert but tons of kids of every kind (and) girls are coming up to me and saying `I want to direct now, I'm writing a screenplay now, you're my inspiration.' I think it's great that people are getting excited."

The big opening for "Twilight" also helps put Summit Entertainment on the map, said Richie Say, the company's president of domestic distribution. Summit has only been around since April 2007 and "Twilight," its sixth release, cost just $37 million to make.

"It certainly says what we've been saying all along, that we can do more with less," he said. When Warner Bros . pushed " Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince " from this weekend to a July 2009 debut, and Summit jumped to move "Twilight" from Dec. 12 into that spot on the schedule, "that decision was made in a day. I don't know that the major studios have that ability."

The tremendous take for "Twilight" far exceeded expectations, which had been set around $50 million.

"Teen girls rule the earth," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers. "If you look back at the ` Hannah Montana' movie , how well that did, and now this movie, the teen girl audience will never be ignored again or underestimated. It was always teen boys who were the coveted ones, but someone finally caught on to the idea that girls love movies, too, and if you create something that they're into, that they're passionate about, they will come out in big numbers and drive the box office."

The other major debut of the weekend, Walt Disney 's 3-D animated "Bolt," made $27 million to take third place. Featuring the voices of John Travolta and Miley Cyrus, "Bolt" follows the cross-country journey of a dog who plays a superhero on television, but sadly realizes he has no magical powers once he gets separated from his "person."

Chuck Viane, Disney's head of distribution, said "Twilight" took a bite out of everyone's box office this weekend. If the vampire saga hadn't been around, Viane said, Disney would have expected an opening of at least $30 million.

"Obviously we believe in the Thanksgiving holiday in a big, big way," he said. "We've always viewed this as one of those 10-day marathons between opening day and the end of the Thanksgiving weekend."

Last weekend's No. 1 movie, " Quantum of Solace ," came in second with $27.4 million. The latest James Bond extravaganza has now grossed $109.5 million, and it crossed the $100 million mark faster than any other film in the franchise, said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony . It's also made $309 million internationally.

"We're in great shape. We're way ahead of where we were with ` Casino Royale ,'" said Bruer, referring to the last Bond picture, which also starred Daniel Craig as a more visceral incarnation of 007.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. "Twilight," $70.5 million.

2. "Quantum of Solace," $27.4 million.

3. "Bolt," $27 million.

4. " Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa," $16 million.

5. "Role Models." $7.2 million.

6. " Changeling ," $2.6 million.

7. " High School Musical 3: Senior Year ," $2 million.

8. " Zack and Miri Make a Porno ," $1.7 million.

9. "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas," $1.67 million.

10. "The Secret Life of Bees," $1.28 million.


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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pretty bloody humble

Shy British hunk sinks teeth into much-awaited teen vampire flick

HOLLYWOOD – Robert Pattinson has all the traits of a Hollywood heartthrob – photogenic features, a lovely British accent, and a starring role as a brooding but devastatingly handsome lover.

He’ll play good-guy vampire Edward Cullen in “Twilight,” the big-screen adaptation of the first installment in author Stephenie Meyer’s wildly successful young-adult book series due in theaters Nov. 21.

The only thing that doesn’t quite fit? Pattinson is one seriously self-deprecating guy.

“I can’t watch myself onscreen,” said the 22-year-old actor, who previously appeared as Cedric Diggory in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”

“When my parents say, ‘Oh, did you see this photo?’ I immediately start going, ‘Don’t tell me about photos!’ I haven’t watched anything since the premiere of ‘Harry Potter.’

“And that’s because I couldn’t find a way out. It would have looked a bit bad for me to walk out,” he conceded with a laugh.

In the coming months, Pattinson and the rest of the film’s ensemble cast are probably going to have to get a lot more comfortable with fame.

“Twilight,” which details the romance between Edward and 17-year-old Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), has been compared to “Romeo and Juliet,” with its themes of forbidden love. But it’s also been described as the heir to J.K. Rowling’s teen wizard saga, given its blockbuster literary pedigree and popularity among the younger-than-18 set.

For months, interest in the film has been building: There’s even a clock counting down the minutes to its premiere at

It’s a strange thing to realize that you’re at the heart of a full-blown pop culture phenomenon, but on an unseasonable October afternoon, with the temperature hovering near 100 degrees, the pressure didn’t seem to be adversely affecting any of the actors.

Gathered around a conference table in a Los Angeles office building, Pattinson and costars Kellan Lutz and Nikki Reed, who portray two other members of the Cullen clan, were playing it remarkably cool.

“I think it was toward the end of shooting when it really dawned on me,” said Reed, who plays the supremely confident Rosalie, love interest to Lutz’s Emmett.

“There were fans that were finding out where the locations were, and that’s when it really hit me. People saying, ‘Oh, it’s going to be the next “Harry Potter”!’ That’s a big mountain in front of you. There’s a lot of hype around this.”

During the conversation, the trio easily dissolved into laughter, teasing one another and displaying the same generally convivial vibe that took root during the weeks they spent together on set in the remote Pacific Northwest with director Catherine Hardwicke.

“It’s weird having such a big cast where everyone’s pretty much the same age,” Pattinson said. “A lot of the time, the locations were really isolated, so we were the only people we could hang out with.”

Every modern take on the vampire legend sets up new rules that govern the creatures, and “Twilight” is no exception. In the story, the Cullens refuse to feed on humans, hunting animals instead, and they are not harmed by the sun, although their luminous white skin does glitter in direct light.

It’s their self-imposed dietary restrictions and desire to live among people that ultimately helps Bella accept Edward’s true nature, but it also puts the vampires in direct conflict with others of their kind, who are less, well, civilized.

For the movie’s action sequences, the actors experimented with stunts and wire work, which Pattinson admits did not play to his strengths.

“I got injured on the first shot of the first day,” he said. “I wasn’t even doing a stunt. I was just trying to pick up Kristen, and I almost tore my hamstring because I hadn’t been doing enough squats. It was very embarrassing.”

Added Lutz: “When we did have those hard days, we would go back to Rob’s room. He had a couple of guitars in there and a lot of great music. It was really fun being able to relax and have the cast come together, having that time just to bond and not really be actors but friends.”

Even though the film’s release is several weeks away, Summit Entertainment already has announced plans to move ahead with adaptations of the other books in the series – depending, of course, on how well “Twilight” fares at the box office.

Pattinson, Lutz, 23, and Reed, 20, said they are thrilled about the prospects for a Cullen family reunion. After all, playing a vampire does offer an actor certain advantages.

“You’re doing a scene with someone and you can play something however you want and deliver it in a completely random way so even the other actor doesn’t know what you’re doing,” Pattinson said. “And you can just say, ‘Well, it’s because I’m a vampire, isn’t it?’ ”


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Edward Cullen (né Edward Anthony Masen) is a fictional character from Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. He features in the books Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, as well as the yet unfinished Midnight Sun, and upcoming Twilight film.

Vampiric traits; abilities; interests
Edward, like all vampires in the Twilight series, possesses superhuman beauty, strength, speed, endurance, and agility. His scent and voice are enormously seductive, so much so that he occasionally sends Bella into a pliant daze entirely by accident. In Twilight, Edward explains that like other vampires, he does not need to breathe, though he chooses to do so out of habit and because it is helpful to smell his environment. He cannot digest regular food, and compares its attractiveness for him to the prospect of eating dirt for a regular person. As well, like other vampires, Edward is not able to sleep.

In addition to the traits he shares with his fellow vampires, Edward has certain abilities that are his alone. He is the fastest of the Cullens, able to outrun any of them. Perhaps as a result of a talent for empathy in his human life, Edward can also read the mind of anyone within a few miles of himself; Bella is the sole exception to this rule, which Meyer has stated is due to Bella having a very private mind. Edward also retains some of the traditional mindset and dated patterns of speech from his early-20th century human life.

Edward is musical, able to play the piano like a virtuoso. He enjoys a wide range of music, including classical, jazz, progressive metal, alternative rock, punk rock, but dislikes country. He prefers indie rock to mainstream, and appreciates rock and classical music equally. He mentions in Twilight that he likes music from the fifties better than the sixties, dislikes the seventies, and says the eighties were "bearable".

A hobby of Edward's is collecting cars. He owns a Volvo S60 R and an Aston Martin V12 Vanquish as a "special occasion" car. He also gave his sister Alice a Porsche 911 Turbo as a gift in Eclipse. He bought a motorcycle to ride alongside Bella, but gave it to Jasper after he realized that riding motorcycles was a hobby she enjoyed sharing with Jacob.

Edward is described in the book and by Bella as being charming, polite, determined, and very stubborn. He is very protective over Bella and puts her safety, humanity and welfare before anything else. He often over-analyzes situations and has a tendency to overreact, especially in situations where Bella's safety is at risk. He retains some outdated speech from his human life in the early 20th century, and can be very romantic. Edward sees himself as a monster, and after falling in love with Bella, he desperately wishes that he were human instead of a vampire.

Physical appearance
Like all the vampires in the Twilight series, Edward is described by Bella as being impossibly beautiful. At various points in the series, she compares him to the mythical Greek god Adonis. His skin is "like marble"– very pale, ice cold, and sparkles in the sunlight. She describes his facial features as being perfect and angular - high cheekbones, strong jawline, a straight nose, and beautiful, full lips. His hair, which is always in casual disarray, retains the unusual bronze shade that he inherited in his human life from his biological mother. His eyes, once emerald green, are now described as a liquid, golden topaz. His fingers are described often as slender and he is said to have a dazzlingly crooked smile. His appearance changes if he goes long without feeding: his eyes darken, becoming almost black, and purple bruises appear beneath his eyes. Edward stands at 6'2", and has a slender but muscular body.


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