SDCC: New Moon stars preview Edward's new look

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

In a news conference at Comic-Con in San Diego today, Twilight Saga: New Moon star Robert Pattinson told reporters that the filmmakers found a way to keep him front and center in the sequel to the hit Twilight, even though his character spends a lot of time away from heroine Bella in Stephenie Meyer's book.

Pattinson's leading lady, Kristen Stewart, added that the depiction of Edward this time around is more impressionistic.

Readers of the second Twilight book didn't have to do without Edward, even though he leaves Bella early on: Bella kept him in her thoughts, and the readers could still imagine him. That presented a problem for filmmakers of The Twilight Saga: New Moon, who knew better than to cut star Robert Pattinson out of the movie, so they came up with a device where he could still appear.

"It's Edward's voice in the book, so I guess it would probably look pretty cheesy if it were just my voice," Pattinson told reporters. "They've done these hallucinations, kind of semi-visible apparitions."

Stewart added that the incarnation of Edward is still colored by Bella's perceptions. "It's suggestive," Stewart said at the same press conference. "It's how she remembers him, not necessarily how he actually is."

Just to be clear though, Team Edward will see plenty of their mascot in the sequel. "He's in it a lot," Stewart assured, adding that it's important to experience some absence for the ultimate effect of Edward's character on Bella. "If he doesn't go, you can't miss him," she said. "That's what this whole movie's about, is that empty, completely dark place where Edward is absent."

The schedule was a tad lighter on Pattinson this time around. "I started three weeks after we started shooting, and my first scenes were the apparition scenes, which involved me doing maybe one word a week," Pattinson said. "I had a pretty much stress-free job of three months. It was great for me. All the pressure was on Taylor [Lautner, who plays Jacob.]"

Stewart, Pattionson and Lautner were slated to present footage and answer questions from 6,500 fans in San Diego's Hall H later today; Twihards have been camped out in front of the convention center since Wednesday to get into the cavernous hall. (Look for our report about the panel later.)

The Twilight Saga: New Moon opens Nov. 20.