Catherine Hardwicke, the director of the first Twilight film, spoke out recently in an interview on the movie’s casting. The Twilight film franchise, based on the Stephanie Meyer best-selling novels, was often criticized for only having a few Black actors in the series who had minor roles.
Now, Hardwicke is spilling the tea. When speaking with The Daily Beast, the director said Meyer resisted diverse casting.
“(Meyer) had not really written it (the books) that way. So she probably just didn’t see the world that way. And I was like, ‘oh my God, I want the vampires, I want them all—Alice, I wanted her to be Japanese!’ I had all these ideas. And she just could not accept the Cullens to be more diverse, because she had really seen them in her mind, she knew who each character was representing in a way, a personal friend or a relative or something. She said, ‘I wrote that they had this pale glistening skin!’”
Hardwicke said Meyer finally got with the idea of having the Kenyan-born actor Edi Gathegi play Laurent, whom the director describes as “one of the scary antagonistic vampires.” She explained, “The only reason that came through was he was described as having olive skin. And I said, there are Black olives out there! Then she was open to the students in (Bella’s) peer group being other ethnicities, so we got Christian Serratos and Justin Chon, so we were able to open it up a little bit.”
She still admires the film and working with Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart but admits she believes there was a reason she got the gig. “There were very low expectations because every other studio had turned it down. They said, OK, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was a very popular book for girls, and it made $39 million. That’s it. We don’t know if this could ever make us any more than that, so we don’t really want to spend more than that. The expectations were low literally up to opening weekend. Why do you think I got the job? Why do you think they hired a female director? If they thought it was going to be a big blockbuster, they wouldn’t have ever even hired me because no woman had ever been hired to do something in the blockbuster category.”
The first film was the only one directed by Hardwicke, who directs 2019’s Miss Bala, starring Gina Rodriguez and Anthony Mackie.