Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke recently shared with the Daily Beast that she wanted to cast diverse actors in the first installment of the Stephenie Meyer’s book-to-film adaptation. Meyer wasn't having it though, and the mega-hit series of five blockbuster movies was produced in all of its pasty glory, featuring a nearly all-white cast.
And, well — fine. To be clear, we didn't need to be in her sparkly vampire purity porn. We've got Cheryl Dunye, the GOAT who is developing a TV series out of Jewelle Gomez's Afrofuturistic novel The Gilda Stories about a bisexual, Black vampire. We've got Nikyatu Jusu's Suicide By Sunlight, where Black vampires are protected from the sun due to being highly melanated. We're good!
But it's #BlackFilmFridays—a time when we at Shadow and Act highlight or reimagine the kinds of movies we want to see—so, let's put some melanin in these Twilight vampires' cold, dead skin (no shade to Laurent). Imagine with us: The #BlackTwilight Saga: Midnight.
Black Twilight Saga Midnight | Shadow and Act
All is quiet in Bònnui, a sleepy town that sits on a Louisiana bayou. But when bodies that have been drained of blood start mysteriously floating in the swamp, the Haitian Creole community begins arming itself with Vodou to protect everyone from a strange family that lives on the outskirts of town who seems to take "Black don't crack" to the extreme.
Lovie Simone as Bella Swan
Shadow and Act | Getty Imagese
Greenleaf star Lovie Simone is our Bella Swan, a strong-willed, self-assured, pansexual teen, who is trying to find herself in the world. Recognizing her mother's once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity to become a globetrotting television journalist, Bella encourages her mom to send her to Bònnui to live with her father Charlie Swan. When a mysterious creature almost kills her during her first night in Bònnui, Bella seeks out her childhood friend Jacob Black to teach her the magic of Vodou, so she can protect herself and her new community from what's lurking in the dark.
Sterling K. Brown as Charlie Swan
Sterling K. Brown as Charlie | Shadow And Act / Getty
This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown is our Charlie Swan, Bònnui’s head of the Community Safety Commission and Bella’s father. In the town that has abolished police, Charlie's job is to help keep the community safe, de-escalate violence, and care for all residents without the use of weapons. That becomes tricky after bodies start washing up in the bayou — drained of blood. When Bella's life is threatened, Charlie becomes desperate to protect his daughter and his town against this mysterious enemy.
Trevor Jackson as Jacob Black
Trevor Jackson | Shadow and Act / Getty Images
Grown-ish star Trevor Jackson is Bella's childhood friend Jacob Black. Jacob is a part of a group of Haitian Creoles who've lived in Bònnui for generations. The Vodou practitioners work to protect the town from their sworn enemies, blood-sucking demons that seek to destroy them.
When Bella seeks out the power of Vodou for protection, Jacob gladly teaches her all he knows, initiating her into the small Haitian community and eventually falling in love with her. But with the threat of blood suckers looming over Bònnui, Jacob's lougarou — or werewolf — gene kicks in, cutting him off from the power of Vodou and putting him at odds with Bella, her father and the Safety Commission, who thinks a pack of giant wolves are the ones responsible for the violent deaths of the residents.
Jamie Hector as Billy Black
Jamie Hector as Billy Black | Shadow and Act / Getty
The Wire star Jamie Hector is Jacob's father Billy Black, a Vodou priest who must help his son and the other lougarous through their transition from human to beast and back — all while trying to keep them safe from Billy's best friend Charlie, and the rest of the Safety Commission, who are steadily arming themselves against what they believe are wild animals on the attack.
Ashton Sanders as Edward Cullen
Ashton Sanders, Edward Cullen |Shadow and Act Getty Images
Moonlight star Ashton Sanders is Edward Cullen, the brooding teen Bella meets on the first day of school. Like magnets, the two are instantly drawn to each other, but Edward has a dangerous secret that he can't share with Bella without risking her life. Though they fall deeply in love with each other, Edward must constantly fight the urge to drink her blood.
Edward can also read minds and knows Jacob's lougarou secret. He and Jacob become obsessed with protecting Bella from the beast within each of them, but they quickly learn Bella is nobody's damsel in distress or prize to win. The magic she practices keeps both Edward and Jacob at bay, and threatens to overpower her love for each of them — for good.
Regina King as Esme Cullen
Regina King as Esme Cullen | Shadow and Act / Getty Images
Emmy Award-winner Regina King is Esme Cullen, the local doctor who uses her own blood to heal the sick—when medicine fails and no one's looking. She and her husband Carlisle have adopted Edward and a brood of other "children" who never seem to age. She treats all of the town's residents except for the Creole Haitian locals of Bònnui, who know exactly what she and her family are. Esme has brokered a generations-long deal with the community that she will keep her family on their own side of the bayou and not harm humans. However, after drained bodies start appearing in the swamp, she must protect her family and find out who — or what — is really killing the residents of Bònnui.
Morris Chestnut as Carlisle Cullen
Morris Chestnut as Carlisle Cullen | Shadow and Act / Getty Images
The Best Man star Morris Chestnut is Carlisle Cullen, who runs the hospital's blood bank and keeps his family fed without harming anyone. He has the gift of making himself invisible to the human eye, which only Vodou can reverse. However, his power is no match for the lougarous, whose wolf eyes can spot him even in the dark.
Indya Moore as Alice Cullen
Indya Moore as Alice Cullen | Shadow and Act / Getty Images
Pose star Indya Moore is Alice Cullen, the spunky, psychic member of the Cullen clan, who quickly befriends Bella and initiates her into the Cullen family. Alice and Bella form a bond on a molecular level, beyond sisterhood, deeper than romance. But Bella’s acceptance by the Cullens and closeness with Alice is of course against the desires of Alice's brother Edward, who wants to keep Bella far away from his undead world. But to Edward's horror, Alice predicts Bella will eventually become one of them.
Kofi Siriboe as Jasper Cullen
Kofi Siriboe as Jasper Cullen | Shadow and Act / Getty Images
Queen Sugar star Kofi Siriboe is Jasper Cullen, the Cullen-clan member and life partner of Alice, who has the power to control humans' emotions. Bored in Bònnui and with his family's choice to feed from blood bags instead of humans, Jasper sometimes uses his powers over humans to entertain himself, drawing the ire of the Creole Haitians, and fear from his family that he might be the killer that is on the loose in town.
Ashley Blaine Featherson as Rosalie Cullen
Ashley Blaine Featherson as Rosalie Cullen | Shadow and Act / Getty Images
Dear White People star Ashley Blaine Featherson is Rosalie Cullen, an empath who can feel and channel the pain of others, which only magnifies her own pain of being undead. Rosalie became a vampire against her will after she died in childbirth. Desperate to find a way to return to her humanity so she can have her own child, she endangers her family and herself when she seeks out their sworn enemy Billy Black and Vodou for a cure.
Rome Flynn as Emmett Cullen
Rome Flynn as Emmett Cullen | Shadow and Act / Getty Images
How to Get Away with Murder star Rome Flynn is Emmett Cullen, the life partner of Rosalie, whose super strength is the hardest of the clan's powers to disguise. The newest Cullen member, Emmett still has difficulty controlling his thirst around humans. When Rosalie gets entangled with Billy Black, Emmett's forceful reaction threatens to irrevocably upend the generations of peace between the Cullens and the local Creole Haitians of Bònnui.
As Bella goes deeper into Vodou, she learns the truth about what haunts her father's town, and uses magic to protect herself while attempting to restore peace between the humans of Bònnui and the Cullens. But eventually, she is forced to make a choice between the ones she loves.
Meanwhile, the Cullens learn that the culprits responsible for framing them for murder are a vindictive clan of night-walking, white vampires. The white vampires are big mad, ever since they discovered that Black vampires can do what they can't: Walk around unharmed in the sun, due to the melanin in the Black vampires' skin. A nighttime war approaches and no one is safe after sunset — not even those with magic to protect them. Can the Creole Haitians of Bònnui, the lougarous and the Cullens band together to fight the looming threat against their town?
Would you watch the Black Twilight: Midnight saga with us?