Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen
For vampire purists it may have been polarizing, but there’s no denying the impact of The Twilight Saga, consisting of Twilight (2008), New Moon (2009), Eclipse (2010), Breaking Dawn — Part 1 (2011), and Breaking Dawn — Part 2 (2012). The reason? The romance between human Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), and the challenges of being together as well as the pain of being apart. Prior to Twilight, the British born Robert Pattinson was perhaps best known as Cedric Diggory in the fourth Harry Potter film, The Goblet of Fire.
On Being Cast as Edward Cullen: “The Edward in the book is this sort of perfect creature. It’s like a combination of everything that’s supposed to be perfect about a man, and he just embodies that. So everyone has projected their own image onto him. The amount of different people who the fans kind of wanted for the role was so varied. People were saying people like Leonardo DiCaprio — the guy’s supposed to be 17. It’s completely crazy. But then [author] Stephenie Meyer — who I met with — kind of gave me the okay. Literally overnight all the fans — virtually all of them — completely changed their minds. And then if anyone kind of says anything negative, people will attack them and say, ‘No, Stephenie says he’s right.'”
The Edward/Bella Connection: “I read the book before I read the script and literally every single description was like that. I couldn’t even get through it, because there was just no way to play it. No one in the entire world could play this. And then I read the script and a lot of the descriptor things were taken out, and I was, like, ‘Okay, I kind of get it a little bit more.’ And then I did a screen test with Kristen Stewart, still having no idea how to do it. She just kind of played Bella in a really unexpected way, like really strong. And she’s not really strong in the book. Well, she’s kind of strong, but not really, in the book and Kristen is just naturally quite a sort of tough person. And it made me play Edward as kind of weaker. He’s this kind of all-knowing thing in the book and I went with the character from there, saying he’s this kind of demi-god, but she has all the power over him. And he’s just kind of a wreck, really. She completely dominates him and that’s kind of how I did it. I guess it’s not really the same as in the book, but I just couldn’t figure out a way to play perfect.
“When you look at what Edward says, it seems that he always says the right thing. He’s always just the perfect gentleman. But when you put it in the context of his actual life situation, it doesn’t compute that he would be this completely easy-going, normal guy. That’s what he was before, but then he got bit. He’s still trying to be a nice guy, but he’s also killed, like, 50 people, so he’s kind of in a state of constant penance. A lot of the story is Edward going against his base instinct. He knows he’s a vampire and he knows what vampires do, what’s kind of the whole idea of being a vampire. Denying that is kind of boring. The more Bella says, ‘I’m not scared of you, you’re not a monster,’ the more I believe it myself and I kind of forget that I am a vampire and what my urges are. I try and kiss her, and obviously it kind of ends up being a nightmare. She has a hormonal rush and I have a kind of ‘I want to kill you’ rush. But it ends up being quite sexy in a weird sort of way.
“He knows his relationship with Bella is right, but he can’t stand the fact that he keeps hanging around her. It’s, like, ‘I know I’m in love with her. I know that’s all well and good, but I shouldn’t be doing this. I’m a vampire, I should just accept that and kill myself now.’ It’s a lot of self-loathing, and I wanted to play it 100% self-loathing the whole time, and nobody would let me. They had to kind of lighten me up a bit.”