“Twilight” director Catherine Hardwicke recently joined the “Happy Sad Confused” spinoff podcast “Watchalong” to reflect on her 2008 vampire romance, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this month. Hardwicke’s film launched a $3.3 billion movie franchise and turned leads Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson into global superstars. But Pattinson wasn’t exactly an exciting choice at first for Summit Entertainment. Hardwicke said the film studio questioned if Pattinson had good enough looks to play the vampire Edward Cullen.
“When he came over to my house, he had black bangs for hair and was kind of out of shape because he was hanging out at the pub all the time,” Hardwicke recalled of auditioning Pattinson. “After we did the fun auditions [with Kristen] at my house for a couple hours, then I looked the next morning at all the footage I shot and recorded and I thought it worked not just in person but it works on screen. I had to be sure. Of course in person I just got carried away, but you have to be sure it translates [to the screen].”
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“Then I sent it to Summit and he went over to meet them,” she continued. “They called me back and go, ‘Do you think you can make this guy look good?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I do. Did you see his cheekbones? We’re doing a makeover on the hair and everything and he’s going to start working out and he’s going to be gorgeous.’ But they didn’t believe it at first. He like walked over there with a stained shirt or something. It was Rob.”
Pattinson was not what the studio was envisioning for Edward, nor was he what fans were expecting. When the “Twilight” movie got announced, fan casting leaned heavily in the favor of a pre-Superman Henry Cavill. After all, franchise author Stephenie Meyer said publicly that Cavill was at the top of her wish list. Hardwicke thought the actor looked too old to play a high school student by the time her film adaptation got off the ground, but Cavill had no idea he was ever in consideration for the role until Pattinson had already boarded. Cavill said last year it “would have been cool” to play Edward, although he has no hard feelings over not getting the job.
Hardwicke believed Pattinson was the perfect Edward based on his audition with Kristen Stewart. The two actors shot scenes from the film at Hardwicke’s home and famously kissed for the first time while rehearsing a scene in the director’s own bed.
“They did the kissing scene and he fell off and landed right there on the floor,” Hardwicke said on The Big Hit Show” podcast last year. “He fell off the bed. I’m like, ‘Dude, calm down.’ And I’m in there filming with my little video camera, whatever…In the end, Kristen was like, ‘It has to be Rob.’”
“I could tell they had a lot of chemistry, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God.’ I thought, Kristen was 17. I don’t want to get in some illegal things,” Hardwicke added at the time. “So I remember I told Rob, ‘By the way, Kristen is 17. In our country, it’s illegal to have a sexual…’ And he’s like, ‘Oh, okay, whatever.’”
Stewart said of their audition: “[Pattinson had an] intellectual approach that was combined with ‘I don’t give a fuck about this, but I’m going to make this sing.’ And I was, like, ‘Ugh, same.’ And, whatever, we were young and stupid and, not to say that we made it so much better, but that’s what it needed, and that’s what anybody playing those parts needed to feel.”
According to Hardwicke, all three “Twilight” alums reunited this year at Pattinson’s birthday party. He turned 37 years old in May.
“Strangely enough I went to Rob’s birthday party recently,” Hardwicke said. “I crashed with my friend Toni Collette, who had just done a movie with him. Rob was like, ‘Oh, bring Catherine!’ Then Kristen crashed it, too! That was just a few months ago. It was like, oh my god. We all hugged each other and this is so crazy and cool…he’s such a lovely person.”
Watch Hardwicke’s full appearance on the “Watchalong” podcast in the video below.
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