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Behind the Scenes Secrets of Twilight and the Cast

Behind the Scenes Secrets of Twilight and the Cast

Fifteen years ago, director Catherine Hardwicke embarked on the challenging journey of bringing Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight to the big screen. At the time, Twilight wasn’t the cultural phenomenon it is today. Hardwicke recalls, “You have to remember Twilight wasn’t Twilight at that time. It wasn’t like we were doing a Marvel movie. Nobody even thought it was going to be particularly successful.” This was despite having Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in the lead roles.

From using melted cheese for skin effects to Kristen Stewart suggesting “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” by Iron & Wine for the prom scene, Hardwicke offers a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes magic of the first film.

One of the most crucial scenes to get right was Edward and Bella’s first interaction in the Biology class. Hardwicke trusted Stephanie Meyer to write the dialogue for this pivotal moment to ensure it stayed true to the book. “That’s such a memorable scene in the book,” Hardwicke says. “This is the first moment that any kind of contact is made so I wanted enough time to film that so I would have great shots of her and him, and to be able to play with the camera a little bit so we could feel how those two are connected.”

Hardwicke wanted the audience to feel the anticipation of Edward and Bella’s relationship. “It was more exciting to see that than if you just see two people slam into each other and start kissing. That misses all that beautiful anticipation that the book has,” she explains.

The scene where Edward reveals his true nature to Bella was also adapted differently from the book. Instead of the vampire confession happening in Edward’s car, Hardwicke chose an outdoor forest setting. “I love that location with the rocks and the moss. We had another location, it got snowed in so we couldn’t go there. At the last minute, I had to go find something else,” Hardwicke reveals. She found a spot near a restaurant and transformed it into the perfect forest location for the scene. “We really made it our own little world.”

Creating Edward’s “skin of a killer” was another challenge. Hardwicke had to be strategic about when to show Edward in the sun. “In the book, he’s in the meadow and there’s quite a long scene of dialogue where he was just sparkling the whole time. We could not afford that,” Hardwicke says. “We could only afford a couple of sparkling shots. I actually thought that was more effective though anyway. Just to see a taste.”

The iconic baseball scene in Twilight was a team bonding experience for the cast. “That was like our team bonding. Cam Gigandet and Jackson Rathbone were already pros, but the rest of us were [not]. So we had our own baseball training which was really cool,” Hardwicke recounts. The scene took multiple days to film and faced challenges like rain, but it was a fun brainstorming process. “Ashley [Greene] had to learn how to pitch. Nikki [Reed] had to learn how to slide into the base,” Hardwicke says.

Kellan Lutz, who plays Emmett Cullen, recalls Hardwicke’s unique direction during the baseball scene. “During the baseball scene, [Hardwicke] had us acting like cats and bears and animals, so we could give life to these vampires who are the undead and don’t have much going on.”

Jackson Rathbone, who plays Jasper Cullen, remembers his improvised baseball bat trick becoming a fan favorite. “A lot of people thought it was CGI and I’ve had to prove it many, many times that I can do it in real life,” he says.

The use of “Supermassive Black Hole” by Muse in the baseball scene was a nod to Stephanie Meyer’s writing process. “Stephanie [Meyer] mentioned that she was listening to Muse the whole time she was writing the book and that was her soundtrack so I knew we had to use them in some way,” Hardwicke says.

Hardwicke also came up with memorable lines like “You better hold on tight, spider monkey!” She explains, “I realized that sometimes it’s just really hard to act when you don’t have any lines. We have a lot where people are just looking at each other and there’s a lot of eye contact so I thought, ‘I need to come up with some more lines.’ So I wrote like 10 lines and that was one of them. I give it to Rob and say, ‘If you feel like it, you can say one of these lines.’ And he read them all and he goes ‘Hold on tight, spider monkey!’”

The fight scene between Edward and James was the first scene the cast and crew shot. Hardwicke explains, “I had done Lords of Dogtown and I had shot the biggest, most difficult scene first because I wanted to get it over with. Otherwise if you don’t shoot those big scenes first, you just worry about them. It’s like a weight hanging over your head the whole time.”

With a limited budget, Hardwicke had to get creative. For example, during the fight scene, the crew used melting string cheese for James’ skin. If you look closely, you might see Pattinson spit the string cheese out onto the floor.

Robert Pattinson’s “Let Me Sign” playing in the background as Bella “dies” was an unplanned addition. “Nikki Reed told me one day, she goes, ‘Rob has a very striking voice. Like an old blues singer. You wouldn’t even believe it’s Rob,’” Hardwicke says. After hearing Pattinson sing, Hardwicke convinced him to re-record in a friend’s closet. “He just started playing and we recorded it. I took that recording and put it in the movie. I thought it worked and raised the [scene] to a whole other level. It’s just so soulful and gut-wrenching.”

The prom scene at the end of the film was another memorable moment. Kristen Stewart suggested “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” by Iron & Wine for the scene. “She put [the song] on and I was transported instantly. So she and Rob [Pattinson] started dancing to it and I could see it, feel it. I knew that was it,” Hardwicke says.

Hardwicke was at a Radiohead concert when she decided on “15 Steps” for the end credits. “As soon as I heard ‘15 Steps’ live, I knew it had to be the song playing at the end of the film,” she says. She also decided to put the end credits in black and white and show all the actors’ names to give them recognition.

These behind-the-scenes secrets reveal the creativity and dedication that went into making Twilight a beloved film. From improvising lines to transforming locations, the cast and crew worked tirelessly to bring the story to life.