‘Twilight’: Robert Pattinson Only Let Edward Smile After He Was Threatened With Being Fired

Part of what makes The Twilight Saga such a unique film franchise is the tone of the movies. While the five flicks are based on young adult romance novels, the films have a distinctly emo vibe. A huge reason for this is due to the way the cast interpreted their iconic characters. Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen) and Kristen Stewart (Bella Swan) in particular really influenced the tone of the movies.

Twilight star Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen) squats for cast photos
‘Twilight’ cast member Robert Pattinson | Franco S. Origlia/Getty Images

Robert Pattinson had a very specific idea about who Edward Cullen was

Stewart and Pattinson were very serious about their roles when shooting the first Twilight movie. They both had a clear idea of who their characters were and they were willing to fight to represent them in a truthful way. Pattinson, in particular, was extremely argumentative about his character. The Batman actor even argued with Twilight author, Stephenie Meyer, about what Edward thought and felt the very first time they met.

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But Meyer wasn’t the only one that Pattinson squabbled with about his character. The actor also fought with producers about Edward’s disposition. While Pattinson’s instincts told him to play the character in a brooding and melancholy way, the Twilight producers felt that the vegetarian vampire should have a sunnier disposition.

The ‘Twilight’ actor fought against making his character smile

The producers tried many times to get Pattinson to smile more while he was in character. In fact, they even got a copy of the Twilight book and highlighted every, single, time Edward smiled. But Pattinson wasn’t budging on his interpretation of his character. Instead, he got a different color highlighter and highlighted every time that Edward frowned before giving the book back to producers.

Pattinson started smiling after learning he could be fired from the ‘Twilight’ cast

Pattinson was more than willing to keep fighting but, eventually, he received the right incentive to smile more. In an interview with GQ, the actor admitted that he only began smiling after he learned he was in danger of losing his job. Up until that point, The New Moon actor felt that his job was secure. However, he eventually learned from his representatives that he could be kicked out of the Twilight cast.

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“The scene when Edward introduces Bella to his family the first time, I remember that being the day, cause my agent and my manager came up as a surprise visit, and I was like, ‘Oh hey,” and I just thought everything was fine,” the Twilight alum recalled. “And then at lunch, they were like, ‘OK, so whatever you’re doing right now, after lunch just do the opposite, or you’ll be fired by the end of the day.’ And I was like, ‘OK.’ And so that was the only thing that got me to sort of smile a little bit.”

Pattinson doesn’t regret making Edward very emo

Ultimately, Pattinson and the Twilight producers were able to strike a compromise with the character of Edward. While the vampire is still largely emo, he has moments of joy and levity that give him more dimension. And while Pattinson now feels that his behavior working on the film was “ridiculous”, he doesn’t regret playing Edward in such a gloomy way. In fact, the actor maintains that if he’d been more smiley, it may have made things look worse.

“I also think that if I tried to play it lighthearted the way I would do it would end up looking so wrong that I’d probably end up looking even more like a psychopath.”

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