‘Twilight’ Author Stephenie Meyer Squashed Director Who Wanted Diversity in Film Adaptation
Shed a tear for the woke Twilight that could have been.
Catherine Hardwicke, the director of the first Twilight film in 2008, says that she tried to push for more diverse casting in the teen vampire flick but author Stephenie Meyer push the kibosh on her initiative.
In an interview with the Daily Beast this month, the director revealed how she initially wanted to include more racially diverse characters in the movie based on Meyer's hit novel, but that the author wouldn't budge.
Meyers' reasoning? She wanted her brooding bloodsuckers to have "pale glistening skin." And apparently, that meant making them exclusively white.
"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 [looking a certain way]," Hardwicke shared.
One of the director's casting hopes was to make the character of Alice Japanese, though Ashley Greene was ultimately cast in the role.
The filmmaker was, however, able to get one vampire of color in the film, casting Edi Gathegi as Laurent. "The only reason that came through was he was described as having olive skin," Hardwicke explained. "And I said, there are black olives out there."
Hardwicke, despite breaking records at the box office, was not asked to return to direct the sequels, making her the series' only woman director.
Meyer isn't the only fantasy author whose work has been criticized for not being diverse enough.
Harry Potter writer J.K. Rowling has been criticized for not including much diversity in her original book series, as well as for her often problematic revisionist approach to expanding upon her previous work, like announcing Dumbledore's sexuality despite the detail not being mentioned once across seven books.
J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series has been similarly criticized for its lack of racial diversity and people of color.