The first Twilight movie premiered on 21st November 2008, and the ten-year anniversary of the beginning of the franchise that broke many box office records started a lot of conversations on topics that would not have been discussed as openly ten years ago.
Catherine Hardwicke directed the first movie and is, to this day, the most beloved by fans amongst the directors of Twilight movies. She managed to create a movie that was an international commercial success under difficult circumstances, on a low budget and in a short time. She, however, did not direct the sequel, and contradicting statements had been made back then as to what was the reason for that.
In her interview for The Daily Beast in early November this year, Catherine Hardwicke shared previously unknown details of her work on the production of Twilight with Summit Entertainment and Stephenie Meyer.
“It was thought appropriate to hire a female director because back then Twilight was seen as an indie film that had nothing in common with the blockbuster that the franchise became later”
Hardwicke stated that she was only hired to direct the movie because Summit was convinced the production would fail. It was thought appropriate to hire a female director because back then Twilight was seen as an indie film that had nothing in common with the blockbuster that the franchise became later. It serves right that Hardwicke proved them wrong, and Twilight went on to break records and make Catherine the most commercially successful woman film director.
In her interview, Hardwicke spent a lot of time talking about racial diversity in the first movie. She stated that she had plans to make the movie more racially inclusive: “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.” Hardwicke dreamt of the entire Cullen family being racially diverse, but, according to her, Stephenie Meyer “had not really written it that way.” It is often said that the writer was raised as a Mormon, and was against racial diversity in Twilight because she “didn’t see the world that way.”
“Meyer was insistent that all vampires (especially the Cullens) had to have “pale glistening skin”, … because of the associations she had made with her friends or family members”
Catherine Hardwice said that Meyer was insistent that all vampires (especially the Cullens) had to have “pale glistening skin”, and that she had a specific idea of what the Cullen family would look like because of the associations she had made with her friends or family members. Arguably, that only answers part of the question because the Cullens only form part of a huge number of vampires involved in the narrative. According to Wikipedia, Meyer was raised in the city of Phoenix, Arizona, in which white people make up a high percentage of the population (72%, while New York City, for example, only has 42%). However, that does not warrant a narrative with little to no racial diversity.
Meyer did eventually agree to cast an actor of colour as a vampire, who ended up playing the role of Laurent, an antagonistic character who ends up dead in the sequel. Amongst other characters, people of colour were cast in supporting or hugely problematic (and often hated) roles, such as Jacob Black and the Quillette pack. Since the story is told from the point of view of Bella and the Cullen family who are the Quillette’s natural enemies, pretty much all of the characters played by people of colour are portrayed in a very negative light.
“One can only hope that had the movie been produced in 2018, it would show more racial diversity”
One can only hope that had the movie been produced in 2018, it would show more racial diversity, since racial representation is a vital part of today’s media and should always be kept in mind.