Twilight Screenwriter On Sex And The Modern Vampire Movie

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If you were someone who thought that Breaking Dawn, the final Twilight book, was somewhat conservative in its treatment of its female characters, then you might be interested in this interview with Melissa Rosenberg, the screeenwriter of the Twilight Saga movies, where she addresses how she plans to approach the (apparently, controversial) decisions that Bella makes:

You can’t stray from the decisions she makes, but it was about finding that middle ground, finding that place where I could feel good about it and feel like the message I’m putting out there is in line with my own. That was a challenge because the fourth book moves further away from that. But, what’s interesting is, again, it’s already in there, it’s just about stripping away some of the other things — which I have to do anyway, in the process of condensing I have to strip away a lot of stuff. And I still am able to maintain the emotional journey of the character without violating any of my own sets of beliefs. I think the issue on the table we’re talking about is choice. But the thing that gets blurry on the issue is that choosing to have a child is a choice. So she’s still going to make that choice, but it is about her deciding to do this. And I’m not violating the story at all.

Rosenberg, who says that “Stephenie [Meyer, Twilight creator] and I couldn’t be on more polar opposite ends of the spectrum” when it comes to beliefs and upbringing, went on to explain,

What appeals to me in this is you have a desirous girl. She wants sex. She is absolutely clear about that. She’s a horny girl! And it’s such a taboo to have a girl want sex more than the guy, or to have looser standards about that. When he says, “I don’t want to have sex until we’re married” — and he is trying to protect her virtue — but she’s like, “You’re a fucking dinosaur!” But she goes along with it because she wants sex. That I find appealing. Because telling girls that what you’re feeling is shameful or wrong in any way, or that it’s weird that a girl would feel that, is damaging. So this in some ways gives them permission to have those feelings… The thing that drives me insane is the whole concept of having unprotected sex and getting pregnant and then you’re not able to have an abortion. This happens in films and television all the time. It doesn’t even come up, you don’t even address it, no one even talks about it. They actually do talk about it in “Breaking Dawn.” It’s Edward saying, “I think we should get rid of this thing,” and Jacob’s saying, “I think we should get rid of this thing, too.” And Bella says, “No, I’m choosing not to.” But at least someone’s talking about it!

It’s a fascinating interview and, while it might not change your mind about the franchise’s sexual politics, it might convince you that the people making the movies are more aware of this stuff than you thought.

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