‘Twilight’ Director Pushed For Cast Diversity But Author Stephanie Meyer Refused
In 2008, the first Twilight film debuted in theaters. The movie was based on a popular book written by author Stephanie Meyer years prior. The Twilight series consisted of four books, which were all made into full-length movies, with the final book being broken into two parts. The Twilight film saga included Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn part one and part two.
The first movie told the story of naive 17-year-old high-school student Bella Swan played by Kristen Stewart, who moved to live with her police chief father in Forks, Washington. At school, she meets Edward Cullen played by Robert Pattinson, an irresistible vampire. Bella is immediately drawn to Edward and the pair falls in love. The two then attempt to navigate their unconventional love story while dealing with outside factors, including Bella’s best friend Jacob, played by Taylor Lautner, who hates Edward.
The film catapulted the careers of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart and the two quickly became household names.
Now, almost 10 years later, director Catherine Hardwicke is reflecting on the film during an interview with The Daily Beast. Hardwicke discussed her journey in Hollywood and the sexism she faced over the year. She also revealed that she wanted the cast of the first Twilight to be more diverse. Hardwicke said she pushed to include more actors of color but author Stephanie Meyer, who reportedly played a major role in making casting decisions, was not receptive to the idea.
“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 represented in a way, a personal friend or a relative or something,” Hardwicke said.
She said Meyer pointed to her books’ description of the vampires saying, “I wrote that they had this pale glistening skin!”
After much convincing, Meyer eventually allowed Kenyan-born actor Edi Gathegi to play the role of Laurent. In the book, the character Laurent was described to have olive skin and Hardwicke was quick to point out “there are black olives out there.”
Meyer also allowed some of the students at the high school Bella attended to have different ethnicities, which allowed actors Christian Serratos and Justin Chon to land parts in the movie.
Hardwicke also revealed that she still revisits clips of the movie and remains proud of what she had a hand in creating.