03/21/2009 AT 4:00 PM ET
Twilight mania remained as undead as ever in Hollywood as hundreds of screaming fans gathered outside a Hot Topic store for the movie’s midnight DVD release, whipped into frenzy by the appearance a promised mystery guest from the film, Ashley Greene.
About 400 fans of the vampiric romance lined the corridors of the Hollywood & Highland shopping center for hours on end, wearing Twilight T-shirts and clutching memorabilia, anxious to get a glimpse of one of the film’s star.
Meanwhile, Greene, who plays the sweet-natured vampire Alice Cullen in the series, was hidden away in a tranquil secret room in another part of the complex, speedily autographing huge stacks of the two-disc special edition DVD – but the escalating excitement outside didn’t escape her notice.
“What is going on upstairs? I heard some screams,” the actress told PEOPLE before making her grand entrance. Taking a break from shooting of the sequel New Moon, Greene was still adjusting to the overwhelming attention. “I think [Robert Pattinson] had to get used to it in the beginning, but it’s kind of just now settling in on me. I’m not quite used to it yet.”
Being part of such a huge pop culture sensation “makes me a little nervous,” Greene said. “I feel completely blessed, especially for someone like me, to be thrown into something like this. It’s every actor’s dream, I think, to be part of something that’s going to be remembered in history as part of this huge phenomenon.”
Waiting for Edward
Although exactly who was coming was supposed to be top secret, most of the assembled Twilight-ers were already in the know thanks to some loose-lipped staff at the store, though a few still held out hope that Pattinson (who most referred to by his character name, Edward) might also appear out of nowhere like he does in the film.
Even the sight of a life-sized cardboard cutout of the actor, toted around by some fans offering photo ops with it, prompted shrieks and squeals from crowd. “That’s what we responded to, Cardboard Edward,” said Monique Cimmaron, 23, one of the many attendees who’d already seen the film multiple times in the theater. “When the DVD comes out, I’m going to watch it until my eyelids can no longer stay up.”
“We’re high on Twilight,” said Julianna Bennett, 18, who snared a choice spot at the front of the line by taking shifts standing with friends starting at 6 a.m. “We’re all Twilight fans here, and we can feel like we’re not as crazy as we thought, because there’s tons of us.”
Fans of All Ages
The Hot Topic Twilight at Midnight event was one of many official – and unofficial – launch parties across the country, and the intensely loyal fans, though largely female, weren’t just the teen crowd that’s been associated with the film.
“I’m pretending to be 17,” laughed 30-year-old Tammy Anori, another Edward devotee. “I have a really bad crush on somebody who doesn’t exist.”
Anori said the appeal of the franchise “crosses so many generations, people who are younger and older. The love story, the love that they share in high school at that age, it crosses over in so many ways. Teenagers, they hope for that, and for me, I remember feeling like that when I was 17. It just makes you think I wish I had that feeling back, when a boy looks at you and you go weak in the knees.”
When it came to the burning questions they hoped to ask Greene, most of the fans were especially interested in how the film would portray New Moon’s werewolves – especially Taylor Lautner’s character Jacob, who they were thrilled to see return in the sequel. And fan Nancy Cisneros, 24, admitted that there was one question she thought was on all of the ladies’ minds.
“We all want to know if Edward can just bite us a little bit – just a little nibble.”