When filmmaker Catherine Hardwicke received the first draft of Dusk, she knew there was a problem. The storyline depicted Bella as a superstar athlete and ended with a chase with the FBI (on jet skis). “It had gotten out of hand,” says Hardwicke. “I’m like, ‘No, no, no, that’s not what the book is about. It’s about this incredible, impossible love and desire.
Hardwicke wanted to abandon the script and move closer to author Stephenie Meyer’s book. Those instincts proved right. Fifteen years ago, on November 21, 2008, Dusk became a surprise hit for low-key studio Summit Entertainment, grossing $408.4 million worldwide and instantly turning stars Kristen Stewart (Bella Swan) and Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen) into global stars. This would spawn four sequels, with a TV reboot in the works.
After working on a new script with screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, Hardwicke, then best known for Thirteenembarked on a daunting journey to play Bella and Edward – respectively an ordinary high school student and the immortal vampire she falls in love with.
The director knew she had found her Bella in Stewart when she saw her in the trailer for the 2007 film. In nature. She ended up flying to Pittsburgh where Stewart was filming a film and oversaw her screen test with Jackson Rathbone (who later took on the role of Jasper Cullen, an adopted vampire brother of Edward). “At the end of the day, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, she’s really cool and she has all this angst,'” Hardwicke recalls.
Edward proved much harder to find. As Harwdicke notes, the actors auditioning “didn’t look like they’d been alive for almost 100 years and all this deep, moving angst, this existential crisis. They didn’t feel as emotional.
They narrowed it down to four actors, including Rathbone, Shiloh Fernandez, Ben Barnes and Pattinson, who bought their own flight from London because the production was on a tight budget. They all did chemistry readings with Stewart, but once Pattinson was up, Hardwicke knew it was him because she felt “this electricity” between them. (The couple would become a real couple for several years.)
Ashley Greene auditioned for Bella, but Hardwicke saw her more as Alice Cullen, one of Edward’s adopted sisters. The actress recalls that she was “obsessed with this book, like a lot of people, and really wanted to do everything she could to be in the movie,” even though it wasn’t Bella’s role. But it was also a special project for Greene — it was the first major acting role she’d landed since moving to Los Angeles a few years before.
When Peter Facinelli’s agent asked him if he wanted to make a vampire film, he said no. After all, he reasoned, good and bad vampire films seemingly came in waves and he wasn’t sure he wanted to move on to the next one. But once he heard who was directing, he said his “ears perked up because I was a fan of Catherine’s work.”
As there was no script yet, he went and bought the book and looked through it before his audition the next day, which involved a very involved Hardwicke, to land the role of Carlisle: the adoptive father of a family. of vampires. “At one point we cut to the scene where she (Hardwicke) is actually playing Bella. So I have my hand wrapped around her leg and I’m crouched over her and I’m like, ‘If someone opens the door right now and looks in, it’s going to look really weird , me above the director, you know.’ , with my hands on her legs. And so, it was just fun,” the actor says.
After weeks of waiting, he was devastated to learn he hadn’t been chosen. “They thought maybe you looked too young, you know, and they went with someone who looked a little older,” he recalled of his agents.
As he moved on to other projects, he thought, “The universe really has something to do with me not getting this role,” because he saw a book about “50 Years of Creation “Vampires in Hollywood” on one coffee table while he was on another. hearing. But because he admired Hardwicke so much, he decided to give him a copy of the book and send him his best wishes. Dusk. Luckily for him, the first actor chosen to play the role of Carlisle Cullen ultimately didn’t work out, leading Hardwicke to remember Facinelli.
“I always joke with Catherine that I bought my role for $29.99,” quips the actor, who has worked on series like Nurse Jackie and whose latest film project, the drama In fireis currently streaming and VOD.
For the first day of filming, Hardwicke decided to “do the hardest thing first”, which was the fight scene in the ballet studio. Although the actors had already been training for their stunts for a few weeks, the director said the day “was just crazy,” especially since they were filming in a room with all mirrors, making filming difficult. “I had to hold a mirror up to myself,” she added. She said it also worked in the end because some of the cast members were already very connected to their characters.
She remembers that Pattinson and Facinelli had “written letters and built their story over the last 100 years and everyone was really deeply interested in the characters.”
Facinelli notes that it was important for him to know what made his character work. “When I set out to write the Carlisle character diary, I had about 350 years left to fill,” he says. “So it took me a minute.”
Facinelli also remembers meeting Pattinson, then best known for his role in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire a few years earlier. “At the time, they were experimenting with long hair for this character (Edward),” he recalls. But he said Pattinson couldn’t stand the extensions in his hair, so he ripped them out one night, revealing the Edward hair fans now know and love.
Another big scene they shot early on was the vampire baseball game — a scene that Greene, Facinelli and Hardwicke said was one of their favorites, but also one of the most difficult to film.
“I mean, you know, how often does someone in their career get to direct a vampire baseball scene?” » asked Hardwicke. “It’s just crazy and fun. And it was a breathtakingly beautiful place.
The scene, in which the Cullens show off their vampire strength and skills in a game set in Muse’s “Supermassive Black Hole,” was filmed in the Columbia River Gorge. Unfortunately for the actors, they were at the mercy of mother nature.
“We first shot this scene and it was pouring rain and everyone was miserable,” Facinelli recalls. “We were like wet ducks in the middle of the woods, like makeup was running down our faces, people’s hair was tangled.” At one point, he said Hardwicke simply started putting baseball caps on the actors and told them to follow along.
Because it was such a “disaster on day one,” Facinelli even said to himself at the time, “No one is going to see this movie — and boy, was I wrong.” »
For Greene, it was also quite difficult to film the baseball scene, but looking back, it was his favorite visual. She adds that Alice’s signature kick, as she prepared to throw, “wasn’t planned.” It just happened.
“We wonder how these things are going to happen,” she said. “And luckily, you know, Catherine had a vision, and the editing room was nice to me, and it was such an epic thing.”
Fifteen years later, Greene says several cast members have become like family and still have a text chain where they now “arrange play dates for our kids.”
“When you’re going through something that not many people can understand and in the middle of it, you’re really together. It creates this incredible bond,” the actress adds.
Few people could have predicted the film’s success, including those involved. Hardwicke says Summit hoped it would gross at least $30 million during its run (consistent with recent female-focused drama) The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants, which grossed $42 million). It ended up doing more than 10 times that.
“I remember going to the premiere and there were people camping for like four days and I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is amazing.’ But it could get ugly very quickly if they don’t like this movie,” jokes Facinelli.
For Greene, the impact her character Alice had on audiences is something close to her heart.
“There’s something about Alice that so many people really needed and that has helped so many people overcome difficulties in their lives because she sort of walks to her own beat,” Greene says. “She doesn’t fit into those parameters of that box and she’s very authentically herself.”
Hardwicke says she will “always remember and cherish” all the “beautiful little personal moments” she created with the first film that launched the Twilight saga. And even though she only directed the first installment in the franchise, she says it was by choice because she “had the most inspiration and vision for the first book.” Not so much, the others.
Dusk still lives. A Dusk The TV show is in its early stages and, although she’s not involved, Hardwicke thinks it will be “fun to see someone else do their interpretation” of the books.
Although little has been revealed about the series’ potential storyline, Greene, who would have loved to show Alice’s story in the original films, still likes the idea of ”getting back to what makes her (Alice) tick.” ” She added that she would be “really happy to see someone take on this role”, especially since the character “holds such a special place in my heart”.
As for why the original Dusk is still watched today, Hardwicke believes it’s because “everyone wants to have that first love.” It’s simply undeniable. It’s just a whim that makes you ecstatic. A love that is like a drug…. And that’s what I was really trying to create in the film.
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