Chris Weitz wasn't looking to make a vampire movie when he got the call to direct "The Twilight Saga: New Moon."
Just a week earlier, Weitz had told a friend he had no idea why so many vampire movies were being produced.
Once Weitz decided to be part of the growing genre (he took over the franchise from Catherine Hardwicke, who directed the first film), he wanted to use that new eye to help the cast return to their familiar roles.
The help came in a thick syllabus that included everything from how there would be an increase in computer-generated footage to the character's emotional place in the story. Weitz says he didn't want the cast to have sequel-itis or the idea they were just cranking out a franchise.
"I wanted everyone to know what sort of movie we wanted to make," Weitz says. "So it was a holistic experience rather than the brutal process sometimes making a film can be."
One big decision Weitz had to face was whether to stay true to the "New Moon" book, which has Edward away from Bella for much of the story, or to make some major changes.
"It's tricky. You don't want too much Edward because then you lose the really important sense of missing him. On some level you don't want too little because everybody loves Rob (Pattinson)," Weitz says. "The crucial difference between the book and the film is that when Bella hallucinates Edward's voice she also sees him. That's a nice little flavoring, a little dose of Edward when we need it."
Weitz now has a vampire movie to his credit, but he still doesn't have a clear idea as to why the genre is so popular.
"I usually end up mumbling something about it being a very adaptable metaphor. In the '80s it could be about AIDS. In the '90s it could be about greed," Weitz says. "Now it is about the sense the person you fall in love with for the first time is something other than you, something higher, something unattainable, transcendent."