LOS ANGELES -- Could it be possible that The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1 might actually be ... adult?
The fourth film adapted from a Stephenie Meyer novel about a teenage girl/vampire/werewolf romantic triangle goes places where the first three blockbusters in the series didn't dare.
Like the bedroom.
Yup, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson's achingly chaste Bella and Edward finally get hitched and take a honeymoon in this one.
New-to-the-franchise director Bill Condon -- whose frank approach to sexuality was prominently displayed in Gods and Monsters and Kinsey -- doesn't shy away from passionate expressions of young marital love. And it's really kind of beautiful in its bed-breaking way.
But then, oh my.
Pattinson, who shot to fame playing the courtly, lovestruck bloodsucker, is still trying to wrap his head around where the tween-adored, carnally toothless fantasy has gone this fourth time around.
"This series has an incredibly strange mind-set about sexuality," the 25-year-old English actor said. "You spend three movies setting up the absolute, terrifying fear of sex. Then in this one, you have sex, and there are devastating consequences. I don't really know what it's supposed to be saying."
Whatever it is, it ain't wolf cub love anymore. Millions have read what happens, but if you still want to be surprised, better skip the next couple of paragraphs.
Bella gets pregnant. Quick. With something that no one -- not even her wise and good new vampire in-laws -- can predict. They didn't even know an undead and a living person could conceive.
Whatever Bella's carrying, she wants to keep it, even though it's growing so fast and voraciously that it's clearly destroying her from within.
The movie, which opened Friday, crescendoes with perhaps the ickiest birth scene ever filmed. And it's pretty much just Pattinson and Stewart left to play the ghastly scenario out. (Taylor Lautner's lycan third wheel Jacob, as ever, protectively lurks nearby.)
"That was the first time I've been nervous since the first movie in the series, really," said Pattinson, who still hasn't officially copped to dating Stewart for the past three years. "There was no easy way, at all, that you could hide from the reality of it. Basically, it was Kristen lying there. It was her head with this emaciated dummy; it just looked so authentic lying there, covered in blood. You just realized human beings' frailty, and there's no way not to feel that when you're looking at it.
"There were basically two takes, but we shot the entire sequence in one go. That was actually kind of nice, got it over with fairly quickly."
Other than that, Pattinson appeared quite pleased with the emotionally, as well as physically, more mature BD1.
"What made the first one connect with people in specific ways was that the story was so small," he said. "There was no adventure or anything, just a small cast in a small town. And it kind of came back to that in this. It wasn't going all around the world, there was no huge army or anything.
"It was a completely personal story. And it's always more interesting to play that, especially if you're doing a fantasy movie. There's less and less to play, really, if you keep introducing characters and just having battles. And this was, like, the biggest spectrum of emotions you could possibly have."
Pattinson was also impressed with the new director, who shot Part 2 of Breaking Dawn, which will hit theaters a year from now, simultaneously.
"Bill didn't freak out!" Pattinson said. "Before we started shooting, he really made an effort to get on the same page as the whole cast. He came around and visited with each of us individually when the script wasn't even finished, and he just wanted our notes for it. Which is nice, especially for a big studio movie. That normally doesn't happen.
"When we first started, we were in Rio for only one day to shoot quite a bit of stuff. Two cameras broke, the crane broke, there was no crowd control, it was completely crazy. Bill didn't freak out at all and very smoothly went on with his job. It was such a huge movie with so many potential disasters and an enormous amount of pressure, but he stayed very good-natured."
Now the question is, how will Pattinson cope with the end of the franchise that's made him a superstar? Before getting cast as Edward Cullen in the 2008 movie Twilight, the actor's main claim to fame was playing Cedric Diggory in a Harry Potter film, The Goblet of Fire.
The rest of his screen credits were obscure at best. He was even seriously considering dropping acting for a music career shortly before landing the Edward gig.
"There's still another one coming out," he said, well aware of the promotional insanity that accompanies every Twilight film's release. "I still feel like there's a lot to do. It felt like I stepped on this runaway train on the first one and I haven't really had any time for reflection.
"But it's been nice to know, just in terms of doing jobs, that I've been doing a Twilight film and then been able to fit in another movie every single time for the last 3 1/2 years."
In the other films he's made since 2008 -- Remember Me, Water for Elephants, the yet-to-open Bel Ami -- Pattinson has evinced a thirst for adult drama that's been missing, until now, from the Twilight series.
And for a real change of pace, there's the just-filmed Cosmopolis, based on a novel by literary giant Don DeLillo and directed by the very adult David Cronenberg. The Canadian director's soon-to-be-released A Dangerous Method, for example, examines the strain put on the relationship between psychology pioneers Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud when Jung takes up with a third therapist, Sabina Spielrein.
"There are similarities between A Dangerous Method and Breaking Dawn," Pattinson said with a laugh, though not inaccurately. "That's funny. But Cosmopolis is like nothing else. It's pretty much the opposite of Breaking Dawn."
Back to the matter at hand: As Freud would surely observe, if he were alive today and examining horror romances written for young people, it's all about sex even when it's not about sex.
Pattinson feels the new Twilight handles the transition to a more candid approach as tastefully, and maybe even elegantly, as could be expected with all of those monsters hanging around.
"Even if we don't want the fans to know that this series is about abstinence -- I mean, it was not even about that, but that was the thing that people picked up on -- and then this is the one where they have sex, it's tricky," the actor said. "We were a little bit afraid of it being a kind of puerile, voyeuristic thing.
"But Bill went out of his way to share every thought that he had about the direction he was taking. It was kind of amazing, just thinking of interesting ways to do it rather than just doing something soft-core porny."