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MOVIE SNEAKS

'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse'

January 17, 2010

CAST: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. Directed by David Slade.

BACK STORY: So you're a senior in high school and your vampire boyfriend has just agreed to grant your wish of immortality on one condition -- that you marry him first. What do you do? It's just one of the supernatural conundrums facing Bella Swan (Stewart) at the outset of the third installment in the big-screen movie adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's bestselling young adult novels.

Not only is 18-year-old Bella grappling with wedding her beau, Edward Cullen (Pattinson), she's also trying to work out her feelings toward her werewolf best friend, Jacob (Lautner), and she's being stalked by a menacing army of bloodthirsty "newborn" vamps under the control of the evil Victoria. Which leaves little time to prep for the SAT.

The film's behind-the-scenes creative team had big questions of its own that had to be resolved before "Eclipse" could go before cameras last August in Vancouver, Canada -- namely who would direct the movie. Slade, who previously had helmed the R-rated movies "Hard Candy" and "30 Days of Night," was hired, according to producer Wyck Godfrey, because he could bring a fresh aesthetic and an edgier sensibility to "Eclipse," which is the darkest entry in the series.

"It should be a scarier movie, while not losing the core of what's going on between Bella and Edward, which is will she marry him or not," Godfrey says.

FILM CLIP: Bryce Dallas Howard stepped into the role of the flame-haired villain Victoria just two weeks before filming began. "What I love about Bryce is that she has a real otherworldly quality," Godfrey says. "That's what we've tried to do with the Cullens and the nomadic vampires and even the newborns is cast people with a real otherworldly look."

-- Gina McIntyre

NEXT: "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief"
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