‘Twilight’ special event brings out the fans to Portland park
It’s about 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, and yellow rays of light slant through the trees that rise above Colonel Summers Park.
Sunshine may not be an ideal weather choice for vampires. But the warm evening is a stroke of luck for “Twilight Night,” an outdoor movie screening, celebrity meet-and-greet, and community gathering designed to promote “Eclipse,” the latest movie in “The Twilight Saga.”
Portland was one of 12 cities around the country chosen to host an outdoor screening of “Twilight” or “New Moon,” in an event sponsored by Summit Entertainment and Moviefone.com.
The Portland crowd – which park officials estimated at about 500 at 7 p.m. – showed up to see “New Moon,” the second film in the series.
Before it’s dark enough to show the movie, Twihards – as fans are known – check out “Twilight”-themed attractions. They spin wheels for prizes; pose with lifesize cardboard replicas of stars Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner; and, a little later on, they’ll see actor Cameron Bright, who plays a vampire named Alec in “New Moon” and “Eclipse.”
Though the evening is intended to build excitement for Wednesday’s opening of “Eclipse,” that hardly seems necessary. The four books, by Stephenie Meyer, have been a global publishing blockbuster, selling more than 100 million copies.
The movie adaptations of the first two books, “Twilight” and “New Moon,” further broadened the audience dazzled by the romantic triangle of Bella, the human teen-ager who lives in Forks, Wash.; her vampire boyfriend, Edward; and Bella’s Native American friend, Jacob –
who turns into a werewolf on occasion.
Though “Eclipse” is the third film, several of the fans at Colonel Summers Park say “Twilight” fever is in no danger of cooling.
“It just keeps getting bigger,” says Christine Cooper, a 31-year-old graphic designer from Beaverton. Cooper and her friend, Laurie Rogers-Green, a 33-year-old customer service representative from Beaverton, are wearing “Eclipse” T-shirts they created.
Though Meyers’ books were originally marketed to young readers, Cooper and Rogers-Green say you don’t have to be a teen to enjoy them.
“I love the love story,” says Rogers-Green.
“It’s that forbidden love,” Cooper says.
Rogers-Green knows some skeptics make fun of “Twilight” fans as swoony romantics, pledging allegiance to “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob.”
“But now,” she says, “I think more people aren’t ashamed to say they’re fans.”
Certainly not in Portland, since the first movie, “Twilight,” was filmed in and around the city, including several locations in St. Helens.
Donna Eggemeyer, 49, is at the park handing out fliers promoting upcoming “Eclipse”-related events put on by Experience Twilight, a St. Helens shop and Web site that’s the brainchild of “Twilight” fans Kathy Kidd, 38, and daughter, Jessica, 20.
The sun at the park is dipping as Cameron Bright arrives. The 17-year-old Vancouver, B.C., native has been acting since he was 6 years old. He seems to still be processing what being associated with the “Twilight” phenomenon means.
Attending fan conventions is, he says, “all new to me.” And he’s realizing, “how crazy, how devoted the fans are.”
Bright sits at a table in a small tent, as Twihards line up to have him sign books, posters, shirts. He has striking, pale grayish-green eyes and dark lashes, and as he looks up at fans, they seem to melt.
Diana Begines, 15, is first in line and asks Bright to sign her hardback copy of “Eclipse.”
Showing off the signature, Begines’ smile widens. Her room at home is filled with “Twilight” stuff, she says, and little sister Aylin, 8, agrees. “She has posters, and all the magazines, all over the walls,” says Aylin.
“And the door, too,” adds their mother, Luz.
Farther back in line is Katie Aamodt, 12, holding a homemade sign promoting her “TwiSagaParody,” soon to debut on YouTube. In a photo, the Hillsboro teen is dressed as Bella. Her friend, Hannah Dixon, 12, wearing a wig, is Edward.
Dixon says she does a mean Robert Pattinson imitation, then demonstrates: “Hi, ahm Robaht Pattinson.”
At last, it’s dark enough for the movie. The crowd has grown. As families, friends and couples sprawl on blankets spread on the grass or sit back in lawnchairs, the “Eclipse” trailer comes on. Then “New Moon” starts. Light fades from the night sky.
It’s time for the vampires and werewolves to come out.