Awaiting “Twilight”

On a rainy day in the small town of Forks, Wash., clumsy newcomer Bella Swan meets the mysterious Edward Cullen and quickly discovers that things are not always as they seem. So begins the $37 million film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling novel, “Twilight.”

Released in 2005, “Twilight” took the world by storm. In the following years, Meyer’s additions to the series left books like “Harry Potter” in the dust. “Twilight” is an action-packed, passion-driven love story between a flawless vampire and an average mortal girl with a gift for getting into dangerous situations. Because of the remarriage of her mother, 17-year-old Bella is transported from the dry heat of Phoenix, Ariz. to the dreary rain-soaked town of Forks. Bella expects little from this dull city, but the emergence of the brooding Edward transforms her life from mundane to supernatural.

With deathly pale skin and a tortured beauty, Edward has the ability to outrun mountain lions and stop speeding cars with his bare hands. Edward is a vampire who is not just attracted to Bella, but also drawn to the scent of her blood. Unlike other vampires, though, Edward and his family embrace the “vegetarian” lifestyle, choosing to prey on animals instead of the far more satiating humans. But this budding romance is put on hold when Bella’s life is threatened by James, a cunning vampire tracker who has marked Bella as his next target. The story explodes into a terrifying race to stay alive as the sides of good and evil embark on a battle to the death.

Kristen Stewart (“Into the Wild”) and Robert Pattinson (“Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire”) star in this romantic whirlwind based on the first novel in the four-part “Twilight” series. The uniqueness of the characters appeared to make the casting of characters difficult. Countless fan-based Web sites erupted in fury after the announcement that Pattinson would debut as Edward, but as production continued and the first trailers premiered, fans saw the logic of casting the “Harry Potter” heartthrob as the male lead.

The movie was originally set to debut Dec. 12 of this year, but because of the postponement of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” a new release date opened up. “Twilight” will now hit theaters Nov. 21.

Thanks to Summit Entertainment, the movie will follow the novel closely. In 2004, Paramount’s MTV Films developed a script for “Twilight” that bore little resemblance to the book, featuring night-vision goggles and depicting Bella as a track star. Fortunately for fans, this project was dismissed. Then in 2006, Summit Entertainment tried to make a deal with the wary author, Stephenie Meyer. To make it clear that they wanted to stay true to Meyer’s vision, the company drew up a contract with her and included in it a promise that none of the vampires would be pictured with fangs. The deal stuck and production began, with Catherine Hardwicke, the critically acclaimed director of the movie “Thirteen,” working as the individual responsible for turning the epic novel into a big screen blockbuster.

“Twilight” has been chosen as a New York Times Editor’s Choice, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and has been translated into 20 different languages. With millions of fans worldwide, this movie is slated to have one of the largest releases in box office history. The combination of passion and danger will have fans sitting on the edge of their seats and aching for the next installment in this epic series.