Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke has revealed that Robert Pattinson almost didn't land the role of Edward Cullen. And the reason might shock you.
While appearing on Happy Sad Confused, Hardwicke admitted that Pattinson, who was in his early 20s at the time of filming, wasn't Summit Entertainment's first choice to play the hunky vampire. The distribution company initially questioned if the English actor was attractive enough to play the role, which originated in the romantic fantasy novel series written by Stephenie Meyer.
“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 said about Pattinson's audition. “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].”
Hardwicke continued, “Then I sent it to Summit and he went over to meet them. “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.”
But it was Hardwicke who also saw the on-screen chemistry between Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, who played Bella Swan. “They did the kissing scene and he fell off and landed right there on the floor,” Hardwicke said on The Big Hit Show podcast in 2011. “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.’”
Although Hardwicke could tell that the soon-to-be-couple had "a lot of chemistry," she also noticed the age difference between them. 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.’”
Twilight fans also swooned over Pattinson as Cullen, although it was actor Henry Cavill who Meyer envisioned as the character. "The most disappointing thing for me is losing my perfect Edward," she said in a 2007 blog post. "Henry Cavill is now twenty-four-years-old. Let us have a moment of quiet in which to mourn.
Cavill later shared in a Happy Sad Confused episode from 2022 that he was unaware of Meyer's feelings. "I didn't know about the movie," Cavill said. "I didn't know about them wanting to cast me and the internet wasn't quite the tool that it is now and so I only found out afterwards."