Twilight Pre-Screening with Nikki Reed and Edi Gathegi 8/12/08


Last night in Melbourne, The Hub Productions hosted a pre-screening of the Twilight movie, with a question and answer session with Nikki Reed (who plays Rosalie) and Edi Gathegi (the nomad, Laurent).

This was a big deal for Australian audiences, who, being so far away from everywhere else, often miss out on all these kinds of events. Tickets sold out super fast, and the hype surrounding the event was huge. I got to the cinema at four o’clock, which was two hours before the scheduled opening time. I was not surprised to learn that girls had been cueing up for some time before that.

We waited in line for an exceptionally long time. And then we waited a little more. Standing in line for so long had its advantages, though. I met some other ‘older’ twilight fans, and I also met some really enthusiastic younger ones, including a very friendly and entertaining boy. I was surprised to see a handful of boys there. Turns out, boys read Twilight too.

Finally, about twenty minutes after the event was scheduled to start, they opened the doors and let us in.

Nikki Reed and Edi Gathegi arrived a short time after and the Q & A began. From the moment they walked into the cinema, two things became abundantly clear. Firstly, Rosalie’s character does not do Nikki Reed Justice; she’s actually far more beautiful in person than she was on screen. She walked in with grace, her smile was radiant, and the teenage girls went absolutely nuts for her. Secondly, Edi Gathegi was a born entertainer. He had the crowd eating out of his hand from the moment he opened his mouth. He was casual, comfortable and entirely confident standing in front of a theatre jam-packed full of screaming teenage girls. It was a real treat to sit there and watch two of the cast members talk about the film, and interact with us on such an intimate level. They took questions for about forty minutes, and then they were ushered out so we could watch the movie.

I don’t want to get into a detailed review of the film, as it hasn’t been released everywhere worldwide as yet. But I will say this: the first time I saw it, I walked out of the theatre feeling like Summit had done an acceptable job of bringing my most treasured story to life. The second time, I walked out feel less than happy. There were a lot of gaps, a lot of scenes and important aspects of the characters were either not explained or were missing altogether, and the relationship between Bella and Edward was incredibly rushed. I didn’t notice these flaws the first time around, but they were blindingly obvious to me the second time. If you’re going into the movie without having read the books, be prepared to feel a little confused. The point of Bella and Edward’s relationship was that it was more mature than your average teen high school romance; it was a forever kind of thing. This movie makes Bella and Edward look like two emotionally unstable kids that would die for each other for no reason at all. In the film, they hardly know each other, their connection is not explored at all.

Criticisms aside, I’m really happy that I was able to be part of this experience. I’ve been a huge follower of the Twilight series and it felt nice to actually sit amongst all the fans and listen to Nikki and Edi talk.

Highlights of the evening include:

– Absolutely everything that came from Edi’s mouth; he should consider a career in stand up comedy.

– The baseball scene.

– Billy and Charlie’s dynamic. They’re absolutely my fave characters in the movie.

– Geeking it up Twilight style with other fans while waiting in line.

– Justin Chon’s performance. He really nailed the role of Eric.

Interesting facts I learned:

– Nikki Reed had to color her hair AND bleach her skin for the role of Rosalie. She actually has a really beautiful tan in real life

– Edi Gathegi fell over on the magic carpet while filming his entrance a few times.

– Edi Gathegi’s fave person ever, that isn’t in the Twilight cast, is the President Elect Barack Obama

– Neither of them has read New Moon yet.

– Nikki Reed’s favorite color is green.

The only real disappointing part of the evening was that the actors didn’t seem to be any more informed about upcoming Twilight news than we were. Fans asked if the film company was planning on filming the next three movies back to back – so that the vampires would really look seventeen (because we all know that people age, even if their vampire characters don’t) – and they couldn’t tell us. Questions were asked about Catherine Hardwicke’s withdrawal from New Moon, but they couldn’t (or maybe wouldn’t) tell us anything.

Overall, it was a great night, even if I walked out of the film part of the evening feeling anxious and worried about the fate of future movies, and I’m not sorry I forked out my hard earned dollars to attend the event. In fact, if another one is planned for the release of New Moon, I’ll probably do it again!

I have pictures from the event (though not very good ones, the actors kept moving around and it was quite dark) but I can’t get them off my camera at the moment, so they’ll have to come at a later date!

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