Eclipse Director David Slade: 'I Have No Idea Why Anyone Would Hire Me!'

When David Slade was announced as the director of the third Twilight film, Eclipse, it seemed like a risky proposition: he had only made two other movies (Hard Candy and 30 Days of Night), and both indicated a sensibility that might be too aggressive for the romantic Stephenie Meyer series. Perhaps that's exactly what the franchise needed, though, as Slade's turned in a well-received installment that's a good deal more propulsive than Chris Weitz's sluggish New Moon.

The day after Eclipse's Los Angeles premiere, Slade was still riding high from the audience's reaction as he talked to Movieline about the tough shoot, his thoughts on the controversial Breaking Dawn, and the follow-up he definitely isn't making next.

How are you feeling right now? Do you feel like the hard work is over, or are you nervous?

You know, it's funny. Walking out of the screening of the premiere, I felt this great weight lift off of me. We've still got to support the film in Madrid and London, but I feel pretty good about it, I must say. I felt like the film played so well to the fans at the premiere, Stephenie likes the film and I have her approval, so I feel pretty good.

It's interesting, because Alfonso Cuaron came in and made the third Harry Potter film and it was the most acclaimed, and I suspect that will hold true for the third Twilight movie. Did you look at that as kind of an example, coming in?

If people make that comparison, I'd be very flattered -- I just tried to make the best film I could. The one thing I did was that I came in trying to make the film that I saw without referencing too much or worrying too much about what had come before. I just immersed myself in the material and followed my instincts. Quite honestly, the film was such a hectic and grueling schedule to make, and I was so immersed in the making of the film that I managed to sidestep a lot of that perceived pressure.

Yeah, it's interesting -- other franchises of this scope tend to have these megabudgets and huge shooting schedule. That's not the case for the Twilight films, is it?

No, it isn't. We shot this in 50 days, which is probably about half the time that a major studio would spend shooting this type of film. I mean, Summit is a major studio, but they're kind of independent, and it meant we had to work guerrilla-style. It had a lot of pros and cons, but mainly pros -- you can see the end in sight, but you have to work long hours, and everyone has to pitch in. It's actually quite a good way to work.

How do you think you got the gig, David? What made you go after it, and what was it about you that gave you the edge over the other directors who wanted this film?

I have no idea! I have no idea why anyone would hire me. [Laughs] It's funny, because I didn't particularly go after it. I was asked, and I was actually asked briefly if I was interested in [directing] New Moon. At the time, I didn't have the book to read and it went to Chris Weitz, so that didn't really happen, but they came back to me. I had met with Summit on a project before that didn't come to fruition, but we got along, and they just invited me in to talk. I guess I said the right things, because the process of reading the first script, going in to talk, and being offered the film was just over a week. When it came down to it, there was no time for deliberation -- it was just, "Yes or no? Go!" [Laughs]

Do you look at the movie and think, "Here are the things that are very David Slade about it?"

I don't know. I just appreciate the fact that people seem to like it at this point. These are things that are instinctual; people say, "Oh you have such a specific style," and I'll grant that I really think about the vocabulary for each department I'm working with and I really do design shots and work with actors in a specific way, but I don't know how to describe it as a style. I couldn't give you the formula -- I guess if they come out in a way that people go, "I recognize that," then that's a good thing. I don't know.

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