Melissa Rosenberg: ‘Twilight’ scribe mines fanbase

Women's Impact Report: Femme Filmmakers

Melissa Rosenberg acknowledges that she might have ascended to the top of Hollywood’s scribe heap more quickly if she had been a little more, uhm, ladylike. “I do have a habit of speaking my mind,” quips Rosenberg, who enjoys the enviable distinction of being the sole screenwriter on all five “Twilight” films. “There are writers who are not as outspoken. And they probably get ahead a lot faster than me. I mean, I’ve been a WGA member for 18 years.”

“The reason ‘Twilight’ works is because it’s not some melodramatic love story,” explains Rosenberg, who was hired by Summit to adapt the Stephenie Meyer bestseller after wowing brass for penning another Summit teen romance hit, “Step Up.”

“You have to give (female auds) better themes,” she explains. “They respond to human emotion and genuine emotion, and that gets tossed to the side when you’re talking about special effects, stunts and plot. The thinking in Hollywood is young boys drive the box office. But women will drive the box office if you give them something they want to see.”

Case in point: The first three films in the “Twilight” saga — including this past summer’s “Eclipse” — have generated $1.5 billion worldwide in ticket sales.

And though the Bay Area native is often described as Hollywood’s teen queen, thanks to cracking the youth ennui of “Twilight,” “Step Up” and TV’s “Party of Five” and “The OC,” Rosenberg admits she is no expert. “It’s funny. I don’t even have kids,” says Rosenberg, whose busy 2010 schedule also included her role as producer on the critical darling “Dexter.” “I don’t think I have any particular insight into teenagers. ‘Dexter’ is actually a better fit for my sensibilities.”