Love at first bite

By Chris Betros

Vampires used to be scary creatures that went around biting people in the neck and sleeping in coffins and could only be killed with crucifixes and sunlight. Well, the new lot of vampires are much cooler, judging from the legions of fans that the fantasy-romance film "Twilight" has attracted. "Twilight," directed by Catherine Hardwicke ("The Nativity Story," "Lords of Dogtown"), is based on the first of author Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling novels about teenage vampires. It has been a monster hit since its U.S. release last November.

Now, Japan has been bitten by the vampire bug. When stars Kristen Stewart, 18, Robert Pattinson, 22, and Taylor Lautner, 17, showed up for the Japan premiere outside at Ebisu recently, there was an enormous gathering of both Japanese and foreign teenagers. Bemused passersby had to take evasive action so as not to be caught up in the crush.

In Meyer’s stories, romance replaces the bloodthirsty. Stewart plays Bella, who moves from Phoenix to the small Washington town of Forks. At her school, she finds the usual assortment of nerds, jocks and -- real-life vampires (though they masquerade as Goths). Bella soon falls for one of them, Edward. So what if he’s 108 years old? These aren’t the usual vampires -- they are “vegetarian” (they drink animal blood) and they sparkle in the sunlight, rather than melting away. Crucifixes? No problem.

“I know vampires have been a staple of fiction for thousands of years,” said Pattinson, who first shot to fame in the "Harry Potter" series. “What I didn’t realize was how passionate some fans are about how vampires are portrayed. For me, the appeal is that they are all-powerful creatures who are completely dependent on humans to survive. For others, their appeal lies in the sensuality of biting people in the necks.” Stewart ("Panic Room," "Into the Wild"), thinks the appeal of vampires is the desire to be a perfect being forever. “The other side to that is being afraid to change and not be perfect, which I don’t think is very desirable,” she said.

Lautner, who plays Jacob, a native American friend of Bella, said he felt an awesome responsibility to stay true to the characters written by Meyer. “It‘s all there in the book and that’s what the fans love.” Pattinson said that for his preparation, he went off into seclusion and spent most of the time reading.

Inevitably, he is asked to compare the "Harry Potter" world with the "Twilight" zone, so to speak. “There are not really many similarities,” he said. “'Harry Potter' is set in a fantastic parallel universe. 'Twilight' is mainly about three people dealing with sexuality. I don’t think 'Harry Potter' has gone down that road yet.”

The stars have all signed on for the second and third films in the series, "New Moon" and "Eclipse." The fourth book -- "Breaking Dawn" -- came out last August, but no plans for a movie have been announced yet. However, Stewart is ambivalent about remaining an actress. In an interview in February with Vanity Fair, she told the magazine: “I love what I do but it’s not all I want to do -- be a professional liar for the rest of my life.”

After being mobbed by her fans in Tokyo, she just may change her mind.

"Twilight" opens in Japan on April 4.

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

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The only good vampire movie is The Lost Boys.

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Another movie that has been out for months elsewhere and is now available on DVD I believe.

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You can't beat Chistopher Lee for portraying a vampire. These are just kids, they won't be convincing.

I suggets anyone to sit down for an evening and watch a good old Hammer dracula, that will have you on the edge of your seats, not like the rubbish from these days, i can tell you.

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soldave - not quite been released on DVD yet, although it did open in the civilised world in November last year.

Having said that, the film isn't released here until 4th April - another brilliant bit of the unique art of generating press interest in plenty of time for it to be forgotten about by the time the film actually lands. (q.v. Quantum of Solace)

With the exception of Ecuador, Japan is the last place on earth where anyone can hope to see this film.

And the DVD is released on 21st March - a full two weeks before the cinems start showing it here, and charging the most expensive admission price in the world for patrons to see something they can buy online.

This never fails to get on my nerves. Surely there has to be a bigger market here than in Belgium or Latvia?

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Kristen Stewart, 18 <<<<<Legal in America. Nice legs. I would gladly offer my neck to her.

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A writer dissed by no less an auteur than Steven King, winner of several Nobel prizes for literature. I'm giving this one a miss

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heard the book is better than the movie

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"it did open in the civilised world last year"


"heard the book is better than the movie"

That's usually the case.

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Nice to see some U.S. stars dressed respectfully for one of these events here. Not the usual jeans and sneakers.

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Me: American My feelings towards Twilight: poor poor Japan. I had hoped they would be saved from this torture. It's almost impossible to make a good movie when the book it's coming from isn't even worth reading. An elementary school student could have come up with better character developments than Meyers. The only reason these horribly written books are so popular is because of the ancient vampire fetish that seems to be in just about every woman (and some men).

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I loved the "Lost Boys"... And I also became very fond of twilight. If one watches more than five minutes... it gets addictive!

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gamera - I also liked "Interview With a Vampire".

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Anyway, I refuse to watch this movie because it seems too much like "Beverly Hills 90210".

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sensei - you're missing nothing. If you're over 16 years of age, or - bearing in mind where most of us live - have an intellect higher than that of a 16 year-old girl, you're wasting your time watching this.

Bag o'shoite is what it is.

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Good addition and must appreciate effort made.

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