'Breaking Dawn' screenwriter addresses controversy over the film's story
'Breaking Dawn' screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg counters charges that heroine Bella is anti-feminist and that the movie is pro-life.
The penultimate installation in the Twilight franchise, Breaking Dawn — Part 1 was released in theaters today and is predicted to make upwards of $140 million dollars its first weekend. (The film made $30 million in 3,521 theaters at last night’s midnight opening). Melissa Rosenberg, who has had the unique opportunity to stay on as the screenwriter throughout the duration of the series, has been in a key position in one of the most successful franchises of our time.Skip to next paragraph
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We recently spoke with the scribe who described herself as, “the luckiest screenwriter in Hollywood.” Though she does concede that there is a double-edge to the sword of success. “It does raise the expectation level because the next project you do, if you fail, you fail in an internationally public way,” she said.
“That’s the risk you take by putting yourself in front of a movie. I probably could have been a part of this movie and hidden out in a corner so no one would notice. But I chose to embrace it and publicize it, and publicize my part in it, because I’m very proud of it. But the other side of it is that whatever the next project is there are a lot of eyes on that.”
What (Some) Women Want:
There can be no doubt that The Twilight Saga (the books as well as the films) have struck a chord. The depictions are both revered and reviled depending on the reader/viewer’s perspective, but no one can argue that they have inspired a stunning financial and cultural response. Among other things, the franchise propelled Summit Entertainment from a boutique company to a significant player in the entertainment industry. It is somewhat obvious to us now, but what is clear, is that the themes expressed in the story have filled a void that many were not even aware existed. “Hollywood’s idea has been that what drives a massive hit is 13-year-old boys and so they keep making movies that are geared toward them,” Rosenberg said.
“And what this (series of) movies tells them is that actually you can get a pretty big hit if you write something that women actually want to see. They will see the movie eight times, they will buy the DVD and the t-shirt and all that. Yet they never quite learn that lesson. They think, ‘Oh, it’s vampires, that’s what they want to see!’ No, what they want to see is actual real human emotional stories that touch some chord with them. For me it’s about the girl coming-of-age and coming into herself, and she does that through her relationship. But it is unapologetically about love, and that is very unusual these days. And there’s also the wish-fulfillment of being the every-girl who is actually unique and special and desirable even in her awkwardness and insecurity. “
One would have thought that the phenomenal success of Titanic would have already taught the studios about the power of the female demographic in the marketplace.
Feminism and Controversy:
As popular as the films are, they are also often surrounded by some degree of controversy. When I told Rosenberg that I hesitated to use that word she laughingly replied:
“Why not? It’s accurate.”
One of the current causes for contention in the public discourse is Bella’s decision to have a child at the risk of her own continued good health. Many see the decision as reflective of a pro-life stance. Rosenberg assures audiences that she is in no way attempting to use the film as a platform for propaganda.
“It was a deciding factor for me of whether or not to do the movie. If I could not find my way into it that didn’t violate my beliefs (because I am extremely pro-choice very outspoken about it, very much a feminist) I would not have written this move,” she said.