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‘Twilight’ Author Stephanie Meyer Was Resistant To Add People of Color To Her Cast

So this is the reason we didn’t see a lot of color in the ‘Twilight’ series…

‘Twilight’- the teen romance obsession about a girl who falls insanely in love ( she jumped off a cliff for this man in the second movie) with a vampire. The popularity of vampires was thrown back into the spotlight and given a millennial spin thanks to author, Stephanie Meyer. But unlike the vampires we may have grown up, you won’t find too many “brothas sucking necks” (as a matter of fact, her vampires don’t kill people at all, downer!).

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As a matter of fact, if you look at any of Meyer’s book-turned-films, you won’t find too many melanin brothers or sisters rocking fangs and seducing teenagers. In an interview with the Daily Beast, ‘Twilight’ director, Catherine Hardwicke, finally spills the tea on the lack of diversity in the popular franchise. Hardwicke said Meyer was busy writing the fourth book in the series when the first movie came out, so she wasn’t too involved in casting. However, when Hardwicke came to her about her diversity ideas for the cast, she says Meyer was resistant to it and already had her own idea on how she wanted the actors to look. And it didn’t involve color.

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“I wanted a lot more of the cast to be diverse,” Hardwicke explained. “[She] had not really written it that way. So she probably just didn’t see the world that way. 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.”

Hardwicke added that Meyer wanted to stick to the descriptions of the vampires she had in her books.  “She said, I wrote that they had this pale glistening skin!”

I mean, Meyer, have you ever seen melanin in the sun?

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Hardwicke went on to explain how she finally convinced Meyer to have Kenyan actor  Edi Gathegi play one of the vampire nemesis,  Laurent.

“The only reason that came through was described as having olive skin,” she said. “And I said, there are black olives out there! 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.”

When this interview was released, many “non-pale glistening skin” people expressed their views about it on social media.

 

Hardwicke admits she did not want to direct the next series in the franchise but she grateful for all of the success it has gotten, it’s influence and the doors it has opened.

“At many film festivals I speak at, women say that they saw me on the DVD, and thought, hey, if she can do it, I can do it. So that’s cool. We need more female voices, we need more women behind the camera, writing, everything, and that’s one great legacy,” she said.

Hardwicke went on to add, “They [Twilight fans]  have so many great things, they do Bella’s wedding,”  referring to a  Twilight festival she attended in Folks, Washington to celebrate the movie’s 10th anniversary.  “You get to throw the birdseed; you do the dances, the proms, that kind of thing. They have costume contests, who’s more screen accurate, who’s more creative with the costumes. They have nature hikes. They have blood drives!”

Hardwicke is best known for directing the Twilight series, Thirteen and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

 

By Alexia McKay
Twitter: @alexiamckayprod