It’s rare for anyone in Hollywood to be really, truly open about the realities of the film industry, since so much depends on keeping the gatekeepers’ egos well-fed. Which is why it’s refreshing, and a bit depressing, to read the Daily Beast‘s brutally candid conversation with Catherine Hardwicke — an accomplished director still probably best-known for helming the first Twilight movie ten years ago.
Hardwicke says that very few people at the time thought the franchise would be a success. Back in 2008, she herself was best known for her critically beloved but commercially modest indie effort Thirteen, and few could have anticipated that Twilight would go on to break records. Still, it sounds like a harrowing experience with a lot of conflict. Notably, according to Hardwicke, a big one with Twilight author Stephanie Meyer over racial diversity in the cast.
“I wanted a lot more of the cast to be diverse,” Hardwicke says.
But Meyer, who was raised Mormon in Phoenix, Arizona, “had not really written it that way,” Hardwicke says. “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.” She says Meyer pointed to her books’ description of the vampires: “She said, I wrote that they had this pale glistening skin!”
It sounds like Meyer had a few small victories, including casting Kenyan American actor Edi Gathegi as a vampire named Laurent.
Hardwicke also opens up about gaining a reputation as a “difficult” director and how it’s affected her career, correctly noting that Hollywood has no shortage of “difficult” men whose uncompromising visions are lauded as genius.
“As a director, you work so hard, you pour your heart into so many projects, some of them get made, some of them never get made,” she said. “This one got made and people loved it.”
The whole conversation is worth a read here.