Although I knew nothing of this franchise when it first rolled into Vancouver to start filming the 2nd part of the franchise "New Moon" in March of 2009, I knew there was big hype on it, and I learned a lot about it, the actors involved, the storyline and more than anything.... obsessive fandoms.
In the early days of New Moon, there wasnt throbbing swarms of teenage girls & moms staking out the stars every moves as they would endure later on, but simply me... and shortly after, a couple other autograph hounds & a pap.
In those early days, it was actually possible to see Robert Pattinson go out for a walk. My 1st actual encounter took a few days.It was the young Taylor Lautner, as I caught up with him 1 night, along with several fangirls who knew him even with a hoodie over his head. Soon, sightings of the movies main & secondary stars seemed to be a daily thing. I ran into them at grocery stores such as was the case with my 1st Ashley Greene encounter, I ran into them at restaurants, as I did several times. Of course, there was also the planned run ins, at restaurants as the cast would occasionally get together, or for events such as the party for Kristen Stewart celebrating her 19th birthday at the Chill Winston bar in Gastown.
There was events almost weekly the cast were at. Mostly concerts. Whether it was cast mate Jackson Rathbone playing a concert with his band 100 Monkeys that many of his castmates were attending at the Granville Island's Backstage Lounge, or friend of Robert Pattinson, Sam Bradley doing a show at the now extinct Richards On Richards club, they were around, and not at all hard to find. There was the night friend of Nikki Reed, Sage Dill did a show at the Metropole bar with Robert & Kristen in attendance along with Nikki. That was the 1 and only night where the stars really felt under a microscope while they were here. Robert was getting pressured by fans left & right for photos & a few words in the limited 15 minutes he spent in the very small bar. It should have been a sign to some of us of what was coming in the future for him.
While the first couple weeks of New Moon cast hunting was low on results, by the end of their run here in May of 2009 for New Moon, most of the cast knew the regular autograph hounds as well as they probably knew some of their castmates. We watched as they went from uncertain of our intentions early on, to accepting of us, and on occasion, taking the time to socialize with us about things. It really felt like the cast had an understanding of their celebrity & were ok with it. We even managed to the get the grumpy & snarly Kristen Stewart to crack & by the end of her time here, was telling us "I dont care what you do with them" in reference to getting multiple autographs while willingly signing everything we had outside the Loose Moose bar on Nelson street, a place many of the cast went often in their time during New Moon. They had won me over, and I vowed to see New Moon when it came out...and I did. It would be the ONLY Twilight film I would ever see in a theatre. I saw Twilight on video, shortly after Kristen Stewart, the 1 hold out from the cast for signing, did finally. I went out, rented the film, then of course, went to go see New Moon when it came out as I said I would.
The Twilight hype was still growing, and with New Moon having just finished a theatrical release, and the DVD coming out shortly, hype for the Twilight franchise was at epidemic levels. Fans were even moreso clamouring for any news, positive or negative on the budding romance of the movies stars Rob & Kristen. Far too much attention on the franchise & ideal weather made for a bad bad combo when they returned.
In between New Moon & Eclipse, Robert Pattinson had run off to New York City to film, and Kristen Stewart had gone to Los Angeles to film. Both of them were sought out day & night by fans and paps in both cities. While it wasnt uncommon for the 2 starts to sneak out in Vancouver & have a night to themselves (solo or together or with other cast) once in awhile, it was practically impossible for them when they were in the 2 largest celeb spotting spots in North America. They came back to Vancouver quite sour on their celebrity status. When they got to Vancouver, they simply were DONE with being RPatts & KStew. Because of their unwillingness to just go out once in awhile, the few times they were seen anywhere, mobs of paps and fans would flood whatever area they were spotted at. This only made things worse for them. They actually made their poblem worse. They should have had people around them, explaining to them how to minimize the pressure that was clearly building around them. But they didnt, and they handled it how they felt would be best, and the result couldnt have been further from what they probably wanted.
Filming in the summer, there was a far different feel to this shoot than New Moon. Instead of 3 or 4 autograph hounds, a couple paps & a few fans at their hotels & such, 20+ paps were here at its peak, 50+ fans outside the hotels, along with those of us who were around during New Moon. You had a lady willingly driving people to the sets and hotels for money. You had a different rumour or outright lie created daily by some "source" about how things were in Vancouver for the cast. Truth is, the 1st month or so they were here,some of those claims of crowds so large, cast couldnt go out were not all that exaggerated as was proven the 1 day Peter Facinelli left the hotel to go to the 7-11 across the street & it took him about 20 minutes to do it. The cast were practically ghosts for the early goings of Eclipse. Few would dare leave the Wall Centre hotel to go anywhere without being driven away from the hotel via the underground garage. Going for a walk was no longer practical for them. However, despite all that, most every cast member was seen once or twice, and the most hardcore fans who would spend several hours out there a day every day, eventually saw every cast member... minus Rob & Kristen who were legitimately in hiding by the end of the 1st month.
After 4-5 weeks all the out of town paps & gossip reporters packed up and left town with their tails mostly between their legs. All the fans on summer vacations had left, and what was remaining was a fairly controlled crowd. On weekends, there MIGHT be 20 people total at the hotel, during the week, sometimes there was no more than 3 or 4. But gossip sites & mags kept reporting how bad the cast had it up here. They were allegedly unable to even leave their hotels because of the throngs of people.... despite the fact, those throngs had left.
In an "only Summit would do this" piece of brainiac planning, after the massive tidal wave of fans left, the people at Summit did something they SHOULD HAVE done from day 1, and moved the cast, minus Rob, Kristen & Taylor, OUT of the Wall Centre and to a private residence building not far away. Now away from the hotel, the cast were more free to go out & see things. While the rare few fans still hanging around the Wall Centre were hoping for a Rob or Kristen sighting, the rest of the cast were free to mostly do as the pleased. You could see Peter Facinelli & Kellan Lutz go out together, or newcomer Xavier Samuel going to a movie, or the Wolfpack members going for a walk together, they were around...and for the mostpart, unnoticed, except for a small group of those who knew where they had moved to.
The cast became a bit easier to find in the last couple months here, except for the mostly hidden Robsten. They were still sticking to staying in most of the time, despite the fact on many nights, there was few if any people at their hotel, and even fewer paying attention to some of their favorite sneak out spots.
While some new friendly faces like Bryce Dallas Howard, Jack Huston, Xavier Samuel & members of the Wolfpack, who I cant recall seeing even once during New Moon graced us, the bitterness of the big 3, Nikki Reed, Elizabeth Reaser & even a lesser extent at times Kellan Lutz soured many who had followed this previously friendly group. Just as the cast of New Moon had sold me on their product, the cast during Eclipse decided I wouldnt spend 1 cent on them...and I still havent seen the film.
While there was some extremely pleasant newcomers to the franchise like Guri Weinberg, Casey Labow, MyAnna Buring, Joe Anderson, Judith Shekoni & Tracey Heggins, many of the main cast were still being quite unwilling to interact with people. Even Ashley "I only get roles because of my looks" Greene was often giving the cold shoulder to people, despite being absolutely unknown outside the Twilight fanbase. At least 1 newcomer to the franchise Mia Maestro was also, quite unpleasant. It was a far less happy cast than even the 1 that left after Eclipse.
Luckily, there was plenty of projects in town occupying our time, so we rarely spent a lot of time focusing on the cast. Mix that with them filming a lot outside of Vancouver, and they really didnt have to endure being spotted much in Vancouver, because they really were not here all that much.
I actually cant recall even seeing Robsten, or either of them individually for even 1 sighting except driving in or out of their hotel for work. Eventually, they were wrapping and the cast, which had already mostly left, trickled out of town with little fanfare & I was actually thankfull they were gone. I wouldnt have to deal with it anymore....... except until they returned for re-shoots.
A few months later, the crazy train rolled back thru Vancouver for 1 last encore. They brought Robsten, Taylor, Ashley, Kellan and a couple others back for a few days. Funny enough, I saw more of Rob & Kristen on their arrival than I did the entire shooting of BD 1 & 2. A few days later, they were all gone again. This time, for good. It was officially the END, and I could not be happier.
This franchise helped launch a lot of the success my website, youtube page & twitter accounts have now.
At one point I was ranked in the top 500,000 websites on Alexa thanks to Twilight Saga New Moon.
I had a video that was in the top 20 for a month in the entertainment category on Youtube because of New Moon.
I probably have 300-500 of my 2500+ followers on twitter still, that I would never have got at all because of Twilight.
I met some wonderful fans of the franchise while it was filming here, and on twitter. Not all of them are crazy. Some of them were quite logical, hard working people, who simply love Twilight with the same fanaticism as I show for some sports teams. I might not get it, but I understand that devotion to an entertainment product.
I learned a lot about marketing that I didnt get from a course, age demographics, shelf life of a hot product, and how some fans might read things into something you say even if there was no suggestion in your statement implying such a thing. Of course I learned as well, rabid fandoms have some messed up fans as well.
This franchise put a lot of Vancouver celebrity bloggers on the map. They might still be specks on the map, but they are on it now. More have followed since. Some have left, some have survived, some have repackaged their gimmick 3 or 4 times since then. Some were fanatical fangirls going in, some were unknowing of what a Edward Cullen was, but we all learned a lot about the franchise, and a lot about celebrity blogging/reporting and its probably helped some of us. Who knows if the celebrity scene in Vancouver would be what it is now without Twilight. I doubt it would. It didnt just open the door, it kicked the door off its hinges for making some Vancouverites more involved in autographing, papping and blogging about the going ons of the Vancouver movie & TV scene. We will probably not have another epic franchise like this stroll thru Vancouver in a long time, if ever.
Thanks to the fans of this franchise who checked into my random bloggings section often to see what my most recent encounters with the cast entailed of. Especially thanks to those of you who promoted my pages on your blogs, websites or elsewhere. Of course thanks to those who bought the countless signed items I had from the cast.
In closing. IT. IS. OVER..... and I couldnt be too much happier about it.
You can find MOST of my past Twilight related blogs here
New Moon specific blogs here
Eclipse specific blogs here
Breaking Dawn 1 & 2 specific blogs here