The 10-year anniversary of the initial Twilight movie debut in theaters just passed, but instead of celebrating, the director of one of the movies is explaining why they were so Twi-white.
Catherine Hardwicke, who directed the first Twilight film, recently spoke with The Daily Beast about the movie and its lack of diversity.
“(Meyer) had not really written it (the books) that way. So she probably just didn’t see the world that way,” said Hardwicke. “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. And she just could not accept the Cullens to be more diverse, because she had really seen them in her mind, she knew who each character was representing in a way, a personal friend or a relative or something. She said, ‘I wrote that they had this pale glistening skin!’”
The Twilight film franchise only cast a few Black actors, who mostly had minor roles. According to Hardwicke, Meyer finally agreed to having Kenyan-born actor Edi Gathegi play Laurent, whom the director describes as “one of the scary antagonistic vampires.”
“The only reason that came through was he was described as having olive skin. And I said, ‘There are Black olives out there!’” Hardwicke said. “Then she was open to the students in (Bella’s) peer group being other ethnicities, so we got Christian Serratos and Justin Chon, so we were able to open it up a little bit.”
Catherine Hardwicke also claims she only got the director gig for the first Twilight movie because film executives didn’t think the movie would be a hit.
“Nobody thought this is a big, blockbuster franchise,” she said. “There were very low expectations for Twilight, because every other studio had turned it down. They said, OK, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was a very popular book for girls, and it made $39 million. That’s it. We don’t know if this could ever make us any more than that, so we don’t really want to spend more than that. The expectations were low literally up to opening weekend.
“Why do you think I got the job?” she laughed while contemplating. “Why do you think they hired a female director? If they thought it was going to be a big blockbuster, they wouldn’t have ever even hired me, because no woman had ever been hired to do something in the blockbuster category.”
Clearly, sexism and racism still isn’t a thing of the past in Hollywood.