Saturday, May 30, 2009

'Twilight': From Unknowns To Superstars

Last year they were rookies, but this year the cast will make a triumphant return to the MTV Movie Awards red carpet.

VENICE, California — One year ago, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and a handful of other "Twilight" stars arrived at the MTV Movie Awards and walked down the red carpet, with most of the world's press uninterested in speaking with them. In fact, they had to go back to the beginning of the carpet and start again, just so they could be properly introduced to those who didn't realize they were movie stars. Luckily, MTV had caught the "Twilight" bug early, eagerly did some exclusive interviews with the actors on the carpet and were proud to use the occasion as their coming-out party.

This Sunday night, Rob, Kristen, Kellan, Ashley, Cam, Taylor and others will return to Universal's Gibson Amphitheatre triumphantly, leading the evening's attendees with seven nominations. And when director Catherine Hardwicke recently showed us around her Venice home where it all began, she marveled at the difference 12 months can make.

"Pretty much, everyone was more or less an unknown when we cast them," she explained. "Now they've all blown up big, like, crazy."

Hardwicke has a seat on the aisle, stage right. And she's ready to do a lot of jumping up and down and shrieking if "Twilight" continues its rags-to-riches story at the MTV Movie Awards. "I think it's going to be different," she said of the reception she expects for stars like Pattinson on this year's red carpet. "Most people, now, know who Robert is. He's been at the top of the Star Meter on IMdB for a year now — he's really blown up big."

"We were in Italy with him, and Germany, London. People all over the world are just crazy about him," she said of watching Rob's ascension to the top ranks in Hollywood. "So, [the Movie Awards] are going to be a lot of fun."

It's no secret that Hardwicke became a proud den mother on the "Twilight" set, watching over her young actors as she helped guide them from relative obscurity to superstardom. And although the director has passed the "Twilight" torch to others for the upcoming sequels, she's still thrilled to know that she gave Pattinson, Stewart, Lutz, Lautner and others their breakthrough roles.

"[That] for me is exciting, because it means there are a lot of actors out there now who can play interesting parts and will be given the chance to do something great," she explained. "Robert's small films and Kristen's small films are getting released now, and hopefully new interesting films will be made, because these two are very unique in their choices."

And if "Twilight" should win the big prize of Best Movie on Sunday night? "Oh, well, I don't think I have to give a speech," Hardwicke said tentatively, before being reminded that directors typically do at the MTV Movie Awards. "Well, that would be fun — but we'll see."

Instead, Hardwicke grinned, she's looking forward to hearing the possible acceptance speech of Breakthrough Performance nominee Pattinson. "If anyone has dealt with it well, [it's Robert]. He hasn't gotten a big head — he takes it with a grain of salt. He sees the absurdity and the humor in it," she explained. "He's great with that self-effacing Brit-thing; it's awesome."


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