In part one of our interview with Catherine Hardwicke, director of the film 'Twilight', which opens this Thursday, the director talked about overwhelming interest in the production by fans of the book. In this second part of our chat, Hardwicke tells us why she chose the actors she did as well as some inside scoop into Robert Pattinson who plays Edward Cullen.
When casting for 'Twilight', Hardwicke knew she might not be able to please the fans at first glance. She did get some advice from an interesting source.
“I had spoken to other people like Thomas Hayden Church when he was cast in 'Spider-Man 3'. When he was cast everyone was like, ‘what’s with that fat dude being cast etc etc.’ He told me that people freaked out and that I had to just go for it because when they see what you can do they’ll be excited. He said that it made him work harder and do better because people were so negative.”
What made Hardwicke know ultimately that she had made the right casting choices?
“I had looked at everyone else even people the fans suggested and met with them. We tried to check out everyone and those fan suggestions weren’t valid actually at least not anymore, they may have been originally, but Brad Pitt’s a bit too old," Hardwicke said of fan selections. "I felt confident that I had looked at everyone and I looked at zillions of other people too so I knew the choices that were out there. I saw Rob and Kristen together and I didn’t say yes right there in the room. I had to look at my video and get some distance of how it felt on screen and not just in the room. I felt really good about it.”
Stephanie Meyer was aware of the cast choices through an executive at the studio. “I think she knew, but she pretty much trusted my judgment because she wasn’t there in the room or anything.”
So what sold Hardwicke on Kristen Stewart as Bella
“I loved her in 'Into the Wild'. Just that image of her in the trailer, that yearning, that image is so palpable. Her emotions were so strong and she could convey that, I thought that was great," Hardwicke enthused. "I was pretty much sold on Kristen before I went to Pittsburgh and did a day working with her. I felt she was really great so then it was about finding the chemistry. Who works with her? When Rob and Kristen worked together you could feel it in the room. It was kind of scary and kind of cool.”
With regards to Robert Pattinson, what about him makes him irresistibly sexy?
“He has read a very eclectic group of novels, the music he loves, and the films he seeks out. He is quite a unique person and he has a gift of just sitting down and playing guitar or playing piano and something just comes out of him that doesn’t come out of anyone else in the world. He’s just really unique and really special.”
When fans watch the movie It'll be apparent that Pattinson took his role as Edward seriously. However, found that the actor was overly cautious at first.
“Sometimes I would have to say to Rob that we would need to go through the whole scene once and not stop after the first word. Sometimes we would have to try something to see if it works and not second-guess yourself. So I tried to give him confidence.”
It’s clear that Hardwicke has a penchant for teenage protagonists as every one of her films as starred a teenager. Why has Hardwicke gravitated to teen characters?
“I do think it’s a time when the most exciting stuff happens. Suddenly you get boobs; suddenly you want to kiss a boy or a girl. Suddenly all these things are possible and you have to figure out who you are as a person and what’s my style, am I cool or not cool? It’s all happening to you and that makes for high drama usually. That time of transformation… I think it’s a great exciting time.”
Then comes the inevitable question in today's movie-going world that favors the franchise: What about a sequel?
“Ya know, we know the second book is probably going to cost twice as much [to make] as the first one. We have the werewolf effects; we have stunts off of cliffs. So I am not going out to buy a new Prius yet. We’ll see what happens.”
In the days since this interview took place, Summit Entertainment, the studio behind 'Twilight' has, in fact, greenlit a second and third installment of the film as well as optioned the final novel.
Stay tuned to Mania as we'll have more insight into the Cullen family. Check out 'Twilight' when it opens for...er...twilight screenings on Thursday night.