The ‘Twilight’ Kissing Scene Was Originally Too Steamy for Stephenie Meyer; She Had Catherine Hardwicke Change It

More than a decade after Twilight came out and the film is nearly as popular as it was in its heyday. It just went through a bit of a renaissance thanks to pandemic-related obsession and TikTok, but it’s also a pop-cultural relic of 2008 at this point and a love story that has stood the test of time. Or, at least, 12 years. 

Regardless, there are key moments in the first film that every Twihard remembers. One being the big kiss Edward Cullen and Bella Swan share. It’s their first and it’s a pretty major moment. It’s already a pretty intense scene on-screen, but it turns out it was a bit too steamy for the author of the book at first. 

There’s a lot of sexual tension in the movie according to director Catherine Hardwicke

Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) in the 'Twilight' meadow scene
Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) in the ‘Twilight’ meadow scene | Summit Entertainment

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When a book gets adapted into a movie, scenes and other aspects need to change. Not everything fits or translates well to a visual version of the book. With Twilight, Edward and Bella aren’t really the most physically affectionate couple. That’s not because they don’t want to be, but because Edward is very cautious about hurting Bella, and often doesn’t kiss her or holds her at arm’s length — literally — for her safety. 

In an interview with Collider in 2008, right before the first film came out, it became quite clear that director Catherine Hardwicke understood exactly what the stakes were for Edward and Bella when it came to their physical intimacy. And also what it meant to take a long book and put it into a 2-hour movie. 

“You say chaste, or you could see it another way. Sexual tension. You know?” she said, responding to the interviewer who called the movie “chaste.” “That’s how I think it’s a little more interesting, cause they’re just always trying to just walk that razor’s edge, if you get too passionate, he will kill you. So, yeah.”

Stephenie Meyer had Catherine Hardwicke change the one major kissing scene in the movie, though, because it was too steamy

With that said, their first kiss was anything but chaste. The final cut of the scene shows Edward, played by Robert Pattinson, show up in Bella’s room, who’s played by Kristen Stewart. She gets off the phone with her mom, and Edward tells her that he “wants to try something.” It starts off with some soft kissing, but then quickly escalates into Edward throwing Bella back onto the bed. He quickly throws himself back across the room to create space between them, so that he can clear his head and control himself, but it’s pretty intense. 

Interestingly, author Stephenie Meyer had an issue with the original cut of the scene. Apparently, before the version fans currently have, the original one was even steamier.

“She thought that the way we filmed the kissing scene was a little too steamy,” Hardwicke said. “Because I had a wide shot in the cut, so I ended up filming with the B camera and using more intimate shots. Which, actually, I think it still feels pretty steamy. But it’s just a little more intimate.”

Hardwicke has a point; as stated above, the final product is still intimate as hell. So who knows what the original cut looked like. But if Pattinson and Stewart won an MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss for that, imagine what they could have done with Meyer’s unrated version? Isle Esme who? 

Hardwicke was drawn to the project and let herself get sucked into ‘Twilight’

Jokes aside, Hardwicke’s passion for Twilight is definitely felt throughout the project, and as Collider told Hardwicke in that interview, Peter Facinelli (who played Carlisle Cullen) had shared with them that her passion is what drew him to the film as well. So when it comes to why she likes the books or the story so much, she just decided to throw herself into it. 

“When I read the book, I just, Ok, you could look at the book critically and not like it or you could just let yourself go when you read the book,” Hardwicke explained. “And so I just like, let myself go and just let myself get into these obsessive, specific details and passages of just falling in love.”

When Hardwicke decided to just get lost in the concept of falling in love, which she described as “almost like hypnotic and intoxicated in remembering” it, it made the film all the more interesting for her. 

“I thought, that would be so cool, to create that world of obsession on screen. You know?” Hardwicke shared. “That was one thing I really liked about it. And the dangerous obsession too.”

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