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Part of the reason the Twilight movies are so successful was because they had a built-in audience. Stephenie Meyer had already managed to ensnare thousands of readers with her books prior to them being adapted into movies. Some of those readers included the actors who were eventually cast in the films. Kristen Stewart, for example, has been very vocal about how much she enjoys the books over the years.

The Twilight cast stands on the red carpet at the world premiere
The Twilight cast | Lester Cohen/WireImage

But the cast weren’t just fans of the Twilight books. Plenty of actors utilized the novels as source material as well. The books provided the cast with a more in-depth look into their character and helped them make strong choices while performing. Robert Pattinson, for example, utilized both Twilight and an advanced copy of Midnight Sun (which is a retelling of Twilight from Edward’s perspective) to help create his moody version of Edward Cullen.

Which member of the ‘Twilight’ cast never read any of the books?

Of course, not every actor referenced the books when ironing out the nuances of their character. In fact, one prominent member of the cast never read the Twilight books at all. In a 2008 interview with MTV, Billy Burke, who portrayed Charlie Swan in the Twilight movies, shared that he’d never read the novels in their entirety.

“I’ve been told that Charlie is more prominent in the next book,” Burke confessed. “I haven’t read the books, surprisingly enough. I read bits and pieces of Twilight as we were making it.” But why didn’t the actor choose to read the novels prior to portraying the police chief? According to the actor, reading isn’t something that he excelled at naturally. “I’m just not a good reader so I haven’t been able to sit down and get myself through an entire book in my whole life.”

Billy Burke explains his approach to acting

But not being a voracious reader isn’t the only reason that Burke opted not to read Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, or Breaking Dawn after being cast as Charlie. According to the actor, he likes to live in the moment of the scene he’s in instead of thinking too far ahead. If he tries to take in the story as a whole, it affects how he shoots scenes.


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“Yeah, that’s why I didn’t read the books,” the Twilight star confessed when asked if liked to take things scene by scene on set. “There’s some truth to that. I’m a guy who likes to make it up as he goes along. If I’m given too much information it does nothing but water me down.”

Burke did a great job of portraying Charlie Swan without reading the ‘Twilight’ books

It’s certainly interesting the way Burke approached his character especially in comparison to some of his fellow castmates. But, clearly, the actor not reading the source material didn’t stop him from giving a solid performance. After all, his version of Billy provides some much-needed groundedness and levity to the film franchise.