Anyone feel like it’s 2008 again? Twilight stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart are all the rage again with the Edward Cullen actor landing leading roles in Tenet and The Batman, and Bella Swan's actress recently starred in Charlie's Angels and Underwater. Stephenie Meyer is finally releasing her long-shelved spinoff book Midnight Sun this summer. Feel free to blast “Supermassive Black Hole” and throw on the dark eyeliner while we talk about behind the scenes facts about the original YA phenomenon, Twilight, twelve years later.
Henry Cavill Was Stephenie Meyer's First Choice For Edward Cullen
Long before Henry Cavill became a big name for playing Superman in Man of Steel and other DCEU films, Stephenie Meyer’s first choice for the role was Edward Cullen. When the movie was in development back in 2007, the author wrote that Cavill was her “perfect Edward.” Meyer lost out on the opportunity since she was not considering anyone over the age of 21 – Cavill was 24 at the time.
On her website, she did show interest in The Witcher actor portraying Carlisle after realizing Cavill couldn’t make the cut for Edward. Before casting began on Twilight, Meyer had an entire dream cast of her own – including Emily Browning as Bella, Charlie Hunnam as Carlisle, John C. Reilly as Bella’s dad Charlie, and Cillan Murphy as the villain vampire, James.
Jennifer Lawrence Was Considered To Play Bella Swan
This casting decision certainly would have changed the Hollywood landscape a bit. What if Jennifer Lawrence had been cast as Bella Swan instead of Kristen Stewart? Would she not have been able to fit The Hunger Games and X-Men into her schedule and subsequently not pivot to Oscar glory? Who knows how things would have gone.
While on The Howard Stern Show in 2018, J-Law revealed she auditioned for Bella, but “didn’t really know what it was.” When it came out, she realized how massive the role would have been for her career, but doesn’t regret not getting it. The actress was content without the attention of the franchise, until Hunger Games came along.
Kristen Stewart’s Into The Wild Co-Star Helped Get Her Cast As Bella
By the time Kristen Stewart auditioned for Twilight, she was basically an acting veteran. She had starred with Jodie Foster in Panic Room, the family film Catch The Kid and a slew of indie films, such as Into the Wild. She had the resume to nab the part, but it apparently helped that Emile Hirsch recommended the actress to director Catherine Hardwicke ahead of her audition.
In 2008, Kristen Stewart recalled the name of her Into the Wild co-star was mentioned during her audition to Access Hollywood. Catherine Hardwicke and Emile Hirsch knew each other from their work on 2005’s Lords of Dogtown, which was the filmmaker’s second feature film after Thirteen – which also starred Twilight’s Rosalie, Nikki Reed.
The First Twilight Script Involved The CIA And Jet Skis
Twilight went through a number of drafts and studio shifts when it was first being adapted into a movie. At first, Paramount Pictures’ MTV Films label was developing it, and the script had taken a number of creative liberties to become a commercially viable Hollywood film. Hardwicke previously told us here on CinemaBlend that it “veered very far from the book” and she “didn’t like it at all.” As the filmmaker remembers it:
[Bella] was a track star in the first scene, not an every-girl kind of awkward and clumsy [kid]... she was like a badass, and then it escalated into this whole thing where there were CIA agents on jet skis trying to find the vampires, you know. It really went, 'Whooooo!' She was not working for the CIA, but it was a different movie.
Thankfully, it got in the hands of both fan of the book Catherine Hardwicke and Summit Entertainment, and they were willing to take risks to adapt the book’s material.
The Director Warned Robert Pattinson Against Dating Kristen Stewart Right After Their Audition
One iconic aspect of the Twilight franchise is the fact that Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson actually dated in real life from 2008 to 2012 – the length of the saga’s five-movie run. As Kristen Stewart recently opened up about on The Howard Stern Show, Pattinson was her “first [love].” It was eminently clear to Catherine Hardwicke from the moment the pair auditioned together that there was chemistry between each other, except she was 17 at the time. In Hardwicke’s words:
And I remember I told Rob, separately, I went, 'Listen, man, you gotta remember that she's under 18 and in our country, you can get in trouble! He went, 'Okay, okay, jeez, calm down!'... It was funny because they were both pretty shy and kind of a little bit nervous and awkward. I said, 'Okay, let's go do the biology scene where you guys first meet.' So we went to my kitchen table for that scene and you could see pretty quickly that they were vibing off of each other.
The Twilight franchise would not have been the same without the unique electricity between the two actors.
Robert Pattinson Was Almost Fired For Being “Too Intense” As Edward
Edward Cullen clearly isn’t the average leading man of a teen romance, and that was purposeful from Robert Pattinson’s reading of the character. The actor wanted the character to be this “brooding” guy to reflect the intensity of teen relationships. But Hollywood executives didn’t always meet in the middle with the actor on his reading.
According to the actor, producers gave him the book with highlights showing him every time Edward Cullen smiled to encourage him to make the character a more lighthearted and fun-loving character. And Robert Pattinson brought the book back to them with a different color highlighter showing instances of when the character frowns. The actor was threatened to be fired if he didn’t change his ideas on the character too.
Nikki Reed Had A Rough Time With Rosalie’s Blonde Hair
Ever wonder why Nikki Reed switched to a wig for the Twilight Saga following the first 2008 film? Since the actress is a natural brunette, she needed to dye her hair blonde for the role in order to match the character’s specific features, and it turned out to be an arduous process that did not end up being healthy for her mane. In the actress’ words to MTV back in 2009:
My hair fell out… It took 36 hours initially to make me blond, and every other day, I was bleaching my head and my skin. This time around, we are testing out different wigs and stuff.
It wasn’t only Nikki Reed who turned to wigs and such to look like Stephenie Meyer’s characters either. Kristen Stewart wore “really uncomfortable” hair extensions throughout the series so she could spend less time in the hair and makeup trailer, and more time filming on set.
Anna Kendrick Compares Filming Twilight To A “Hostage Situation”
Another famous actress who starred in Twilight in her early days was Pitch Perfect’s Anna Kendrick, who has not been shy over the years in making fun of her supporting work in the film. Back in 2018, she totally forgot she was even in the movie, and she just recently characterized the experience this way:
I just remember my Converse being completely soaked through and feeling like, ‘You know, this is a really great group of people and I’m sure that we would be friends at a different time, but I want to murder everyone.’ Although, it was also kind of bonding. There was something about it, like if you go through some trauma event. Like you imagine people who survive a hostage situation, and you’re kind of bonded for life.
The movie was filmed in gloomy Portland, Oregon, so not the optimal weather to shoot in! Due to her contractual obligation to continue the role of Jessica, she almost could have been barred from starring in her Oscar-nominated role of Up in the Air, but thankfully they figured out schedules.
Due To The Film’s Small Budget, All The Stunts Were Done Practically
Although Twilight became a massive box office hit when it was released in theaters, the movie was made on a small budget of $37 million. While later movies in the series used CGI (including Edward and Bella’s baby, Renesmee, and the wolf pack), the first one went for completely practical effects. One notable sequence done without CGI is when Edward flies Bella around the Forks forest. It was executed through wire work, per a 2008 Kristen Stewart interview.
The scene where Edward and Bella are at the top of a tree was shot on the edge of a cliff at the Columbia River Gorge, but the overhead scene was shot by a helicopter with stunt doubles. In a time when CGI is the norm, Twilight’s creative use of practical stunts and effects is rare and awesome.
Twilight Was The First Movie To Put Summit Entertainment On The Map
Twilight is secretly a pivotal film for Summit Entertainment, which has since been behind the John Wick films, Oscar-nominee La La Land, the Divergent series and so forth. Before Twilight came out, Summit had a string of losses between Never Back Down and Sex Drive. With the release of the teen romance, the studio built momentum for itself and came out with a string of hits. Twilight is still the company’s most profitable property at the box office to date, per The Numbers.
Even though Twilight was made in just under 50 days, there’s lots of interesting happenings that went on during its development. Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more updates and behind the scenes facts on your favorite movies.