Although Twilight was thought to be over and done with for years, the recent release of Midnight Sun has put the saga back in the public consciousness. And while there are now few performers anyone could associate with the movies other than Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, they were far from author Stephanie Meyer’s first picks for the central roles of Bella and Edward.
The pair of actors Meyer saw bringing the young lovers to life were actually Henry Cavill and Emily Browning. Although it might be hard to imagine given that both are now into their thirties, bear in mind that this would have been back in 2007. At that time, instead of being known for dark and brooding lead roles in Man of Steel and The Witcher, Cavill was mostly recognized for pouty and brooding supporting parts in I Capture the Castle and The Count of Monte Cristo, and was right before his breakout gig in The Tudors. Browning, meanwhile, had a few years previously starred in the movie adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events at the age of 15, and was the prefect age to portray Bella.
Meyer’s other top picks for the role were Danielle Panabaker, who had played a shy and introverted superhero in Sky High, and Elliot Page, who after memorable turns in Hard Candy, X-Men: The Last Stand and Juno had made playing snarky teenage girls into an art form. Her alternative choices for Edward, meanwhile, included, ironically, Pattinson himself, who sat below Hayden Christensen fresh off the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, and above Gerard Way, who at the time was yet to become known in nerd circles as the writer of The Umbrella Academy, and instead got a certain type of adolescents’ hearts fluttering as the lachrymose singer in emo band My Chemical Romance.
Fan casting is just as fun a pastime for professional authors as it is for their readers, and although Meyer’s personal choices to bring her Twilight characters to life largely came to naught, it’s interesting to imagine how things could have gone differently.