Making a movie is challenging enough without also having to fly under the radar as the producers of New Moon, the Twilight sequel starring Robert Pattinson as teen vampire Edward Cullen, have learned.
Stephenie Meyer's four teenage vampire romance novels and the film based on the first one are the biggest international pop-culture phenomenon since Harry Potter.
Before a two-day shoot inside Pacific Rim National Park Reserve even began on March 20, it was shrouded in such secrecy it was code-named the Untitled Sports Movie.
As desperate as such measures might seem, the saga's huge, obsessive base of "Twi-hards" have made it unavoidable.
"To preserve the content of the material you're trying to capture, with such a large fan base who know the nuances of the books so well, you have to go over-and-above ordinary means of protection," co-producer Bill Bannerman explained.
"It's to give the director and the group the space they need to work," he said, adding the fan fervour is understandable. It's the nature of the beast. They analyze and want to know, but you're building a film one shot at a time. So when people see only one piece of the puzzle, they might take it out of context. It only represents two per cent of the grander scheme."
Bannerman, who has family on Vancouver Island, said there was a good reason the filmmakers chose to shoot scenes for New Moon (due Nov. 20) on the rugged West Coast before they started principal photography in Vancouver.
"We knew what we were looking for had to be extreme and close in proximity to Vancouver," said Bannerman, who came over with a downsized crew.
"We needed those swells and sunset shots, aggressive waves and agitated water in a coastal region that reflects the Forks and La Push (Wash.) area."
The weather was so poor that Kristen Stewart, who plays Bella Swan, and Taylor Lautner, who plays smitten Quileute werewolf Jacob Black -- rival to vampire Edward Cullen -- had to fly to Nanaimo and drive to Tofino.
A story by Keven Drews about the New Moon shoot in the Westcoaster newspaper got so many web hits its server crashed for an hour, said Drews, the newspaper's reporter, photographer and co-owner.
"Our traffic skyrocketed. We got more readers in a day than we get in a month," said Drews, who was also contacted by publications as far away as New Jersey. To his frustration, he also saw his story "mined" by other media and fansites.
Joan Miller, head of the Vancouver Island North Film Commission, was also floored by the New Moon impact.
"I've never had as many phone calls, no matter what the star package was, as we had for this one," said Miller.