Twilight’s Original Script Had Some Wild Ideas For Kristen Stewart’s Bella, And One Of Them Involves A Shotgun

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart as Edward and Bella in Twilight
(Image credit: Summit Entertainment)

It’s no secret Twilight remains a weird, sparkly cult classic that not everyone may understand or enjoy, but when it comes to those who do, they can quote it like the back of their hand. Catherine Hardwicke’s 2008 film was the beginning of a phenomenon started in the YA book world with Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling series. But before Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson became the Bella and Edward of our dreams, Hollywood had a much different idea of how to adapt Twilight

On The Big Hit Show podcast, journalist Alex Pappademas took a deep dive into the making of Twilight and, before it became the beloved and loathed hit, Mark Lord took a pass at the screenplay. His description of his film is wild. In Lord’s words: 

They wanted to take the concept [of Romeo and Juliet with vampires] and build in a structure that was far more like a cinematic structure. And they wanted to just put in some more action to advance it more and give something more for the male audience. … They thought they were going to lose the male audience with too much of a romance.

If you’re aware of the Twilight saga, you know that Hollywood was straight up missing the point of Stephenie Meyer’s vampire series. As Hollywood does (especially in the early '00s), it was catering to a male audience – because at the time apparently that was seemingly the only gender going to the movies. In that vein, Mark Lord was tasked with adding more action to the story with just a sprinkle of Romeo and Juliet. He continued: 

I wanted [her to be] a little bit stronger as a female character as opposed to just mooning over this guy, if I recall. … We didn’t want like a helpless turtle on its back character. Do you want her to do nothing? I want that girl to shoot some vampires. I want her to blow some shit away.

Can you imagine this version of Twilight? It sounds like Bella: Vampire Hunter more than an adaptation of the teen romance novel that was flying off the bookshelves at the time. Of course they were missing the point. The story is relatable for many young girls because she’s not this strong, impenetrable character. What teen girl is? She’s flawed and weak, but she’s also incredibly clever and in love with a very attractive vampire, who wants to be with her forever. It was the ultimate teen girl fantasy and making it a shoot ‘em up action movie would have seriously undermined its intent.

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart as Edward and Bella in Twilight

(Image credit: Summit Entertainment )

Thankfully, director Catherine Hardwicke got a hold of the Twilight script. As Hardwicke explained on the podcast, she was approached by a couple of people starting a studio called Summit Entertainment. They passed along five scripts, including Mark Lord’s and she recalled hating them all. However, she did see some potential in the project. 

Hardwicke then went to a bookstore, nabbed a copy of Twilight and loved it. She went back to the Summit executives and shared what happened next: 

I said, 'First of all, this script's got to go in the trash. It's no good. You've got to make it like the book.’ … The original script literally had Bella [Swan] on jet skis being chased by the FBI. She was the star athlete, nothing to do with the book.

Thankfully, Summit listened to Hardwicke, and the rest is history! While Twilight may not be your typical blockbuster or a universally loved film, it remains to be a cultural touchstone moment for so many people. That being said, I’m not opposed to Bella: Vampire Hunter getting off the ground someday… but, you know, to like it ironically

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.