this i09 interview with Breaking Dawn director Bill Condon, the pull-quote of which is that he called BD a "uniquely female horror story." He avoids directly characterizing it as "feminist" of course, and also even ducks the question of whether or not Bella is a "role model." Another interesting moment comes when the writer of the article subtly impugns Stephenie Meyer's intelligence:
And we've written about the fact that Melissa Rosenberg brings a layer of knowingness to the screenplays that isn't there in quite the same way in the books.
I think that's true, yeah, and I also think there's just a completely different kind of political perspective, and just a sense of the world. I do think she's such a major collaborator, as well as Kristen Stewart. There's a lot of [Stewart] in this movie version of the character, that somehow exists between the Bella in the novels and what Kristen Stewart brought to it.
That layer of knowingness is there, for sure, but to me that's why the movies always seem so incoherent. Like Ron Paul, Meyer is at least absolute and consistent with her craziness. The Twilight movies are a hodgepodge of sensibilities, which is why so much of it falls flat.
And then the subject of imprinting comes up. The writer throws Condon a rope along with her question, but that doesn't make his answer any more comforting.
Speaking of Jacob, can we talk about the imprinting scene, where he imprints on Bella's baby? That seems like a weird thing to have to externalize. Did you struggle with how to make that something a mainstream audience can understand?
Absolutely. It is so... it is absolutely one of the most controversial ideas in the book. There is a very reductive take on this as just "falling in love with the baby," which it isn't. I have to say, we just saw it for the first time with the audience, of four thousand people. There was... Oh my god, it was the biggest thrill for me was that moment, where people embraced it entirely. There was just a complete warmth that was felt. I think it was about visualizing in a way, a spiritual connection to the soul of that other person. So it's not a baby, it's the entire expanse of what her life is, that hits him in an instant. And it's such a powerful, magical feeling that is impossible to resist.
SO. I mean from the get go we're off to the races, with Charlie Jane Anders implying that our reading of the text is unsophisticated. Condon keeps that thread going, obviously, calling it "reductive" to say that Jacob falls in love with a baby. I think we should be conservative with the sort of things we call reductive. Writing an anti-abortion parable in which the choice is whether or not to abort a magic baby is reductive. Implying that domestic abuse could drive two people closer together is reductive. The character of Leah Clearwater is reductive. Saying that Jacob falls in love with a baby is stating a fact. And the anecdote about 4,000 people in a theater warmly embracing their union sounds FUCKING HORRIFYING.
Anyway, I think it's notable that every day we have another principle member of the Twilight Industrial Complex being confronted about the questionable ideas in Meyer's book. Strain is showing. (Weirdly, Kristen Stewart seems to have doubled-down on her defense of Bella and Twilight in general, whereas Robert Pattinson's loathing of the series is becoming increasingly obvious. Have you seen any of his recent late-night appearances?) The whole enterprise is becoming too self-aware to sustain itself, the falcon can't hear the falconer, and I eagerly await the fast-approaching day when someone finally sits Stephenie Meyer down and makes her explain her damn self.