Twilight was one of those movie franchises people either loved or hated. Some – especially teenagers – utterly adored it. Others loathed the movies, citing everything from claims of poor writing to an anti-feminist leaning as the cause. And then there were the actors themselves. They, too, were split. Several cast members happily proclaimed their love for the series, but others – not so much.
20. Robert Pattinson
Robert Pattinson’s clear distaste for Twilight threatened to overshadow his performances in the movies themselves. When he was cast as Edward Cullen, he completed his journey as a fully fledged teen idol, one he started down when he was cast as Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. He did not, however, seem to enjoy his new-found fame one bit.
The internet noticed that whenever Pattinson was able, he made digs at the franchise he was the face of. To give one example, when talking to Vanity Fair in 2011, he told the magazine he felt he was “representing something [I] don’t particularly like.” His high-profile relationship with Kristen Stewart and their breakup made things even worse. Plus, he hated being called “R-Patz.”
19. Lee Pace
Lee Pace had a lot of great movies under his belt when he was cast in Twilight, including Soldier’s Girl and The Fall. In fact, you could be forgiven for wondering if a teen vampire movie was a comedown from that. But Pace actually loved playing Garrett in Breaking Dawn – Part 2.
“These movies are what they are. It’s not my kind of movie,” Pace told MovieWeb in 2011, before continuing, “But I have to say, working with [Bill Condon, the director] and having him show me some stuff, it’s totally my kind of movie. It’s really cool.” And critics complimented his performance in the film.
18. Kristen Stewart
Though Kristen Stewart achieved a lot of success with Twilight, it was a mixed bag for her. Some movie reviewers slated her performance as Bella Swan, and her personal life suddenly made headlines. She dated her co-star Pattinson, but they very publicly broke up when she was caught cheating with a married man.
When she appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2011, Stewart explained the pressure she had been under while starring in Twilight. “I was 17 or 18 when it all kind of went down, and that’s the most uncomfortable, terrible, weird [time],” she said. These days, however, her acting in films such as Clouds of Sils Maria is winning her acclaim.
17. Peter Facinelli
Peter Facinelli absolutely loved playing Carlisle Cullens, Edward’s father. However, he nearly didn’t take the job at all, thinking it was something different than it was. “I was totally thinking blood and guts and bats in caves, like some kind of horror movie,” he told PR.com in 2011. “They literally talked me into reading the book and I actually enjoyed the book a lot.”
Unlike his on-screen son, Facinelli loved meeting supporters. “There are Twilight fans that I’ve known for years now that come to different events, and I’ll be like, “Oh, you got a haircut!” I know their names and they become members of this community,” he told Vanity Fair in 2012. And now, with the addition of Supergirl to his CV, he’s got a whole new fanbase to interact with.
16. Taylor Lautner
Taylor Lautner was almost unheard of before breaking out with the role of Jacob Black in the first Twilight flick. He very nearly got recast for the remaining films, but an intense bulking-up session between movies pulled him back from the brink. It also made him a sex symbol.
However, being a sudden teen idol came with its downsides. Lautner wasn’t actually happy with having to take his shirt off all the time, telling E! News in 2012 that “it’s not fun.” Having to do it in cold weather only made it worse. “I’m always the only person with my shirt off,” he bemoaned.
15. Jackson Rathbone
After former Disney Channel star Jackson Rathbone was cast in Twilight, he read the books and instantly liked them. He especially admired his character, Jasper Hale. “He’s a vampire barely able to control himself, but he does it for love,” he told Vanity Fair in 2008. “Plus, he’s from Texas.”
When the magazine asked who Rathbone’s best friends on set were, he answered, “All the Cullens. We were truly like a family on and off set. We would go out to dinner, hang out at the hotel, work out together in the hotel gym, and we even had family sing-a-longs.” In fact, his co-star Nikki Reed is godmother to his first child.
14. Nikki Reed
Alas, despite still being close with some of her co-stars, Rosalie Hale actress Nikki Reed didn’t enjoy Twilight a lot. Some on-set drama happened that apparently left her out in the cold. Allegedly, a Reed-Pattinson-Stewart love triangle caused the problem, especially once the tabloids got wind of it. “Success comes along and changes the dynamic,” Reed cryptically told Seventeen in 2011.
“We’re not all best friends, and we’re not all going to hang out together after the final movie is done,” Reed went on. She also told Popcorn Biz, “I don’t feel particularly sentimental. I feel like we’re all sort of ready to graduate middle school and move on to whatever the next chapter is.” Well, that says it all.
13. Elizabeth Reaser
Elizabeth Reaser played Esme Cullen, the mother of the vampire family, and she adored the story. “The books are just beautiful, amazing, great storytelling, and [author Stephenie Meyer] is a great writer,” she told MTV in 2009. “And then, I think we got incredibly lucky with [Stewart] and [Pattinson] – they’re just great actors.”
However, Reaser has criticized the show’s fans before. At 2011’s Comic Con, she detailed the behavior her younger co-stars had to put up with. “[Lautner] was just 16 and still a boy when much older ladies would be asking me about his body,” she said. “It was just really inappropriate.” She’s certainly not wrong.
12. Kellan Lutz
The same year Breaking Dawn – Part 2 came out, in 2012, it was revealed that Kellan Lutz wasn’t really a huge fan of Twilight. He played Emmett Cullen, another vampire, but the supernatural elements were not to his taste. “How scary would a glimmering vampire really be?” he asked Document Journal that year. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
Lutz didn’t like the script, he claimed, and an intense experience filming Generation Kill in a poverty-stricken part of Africa also made him reluctant. Now Lutz does a lot of charity work – he’s an ambassador of the anti-child-trafficking charity Saving Innocence – and has won acclaim for that. He also went into talks with director Joseph McGinty Nichol regarding the famous role of He-Man in 2016, who is not a sparkling vampire.
11. Gil Birmingham
Gil Birmingham, who played Jacob’s father Billy Black, sung the praises of Twilight to host Neyom Friday in 2009. “I feel proud to be part of it. It’s not filled with graphic violence or gratuitous sex. It makes you feel good,” he said. He was also happy to have Native American mythology worked into the story, as he himself is Comanche.
Birmingham has appeared in a number of high-profile movies since Twilight, including Wind River and Transformers: The Last Knight. In 2016 he spoke to Screen Prism about what Twilight did for him. “It’s a fascinating thing to think of how small the world is, that you can become global,” he said.
10. Ashley Greene
Twilight star Ashley Greene, aka Alice Cullen, found the mania surrounding the franchise a little unnerving. “We hadn’t even started filming when my mom called and said, ‘Do you know you have a fan site?’” she told Company magazine in 2012. But it could have been worse – she originally auditioned for the role of Bella.
An interview with Marie Claire also in 2012 revealed some other problems with fame. “Twilight has ruined me. When this is all over, flying internationally is going to be very hard for me,” Greene lamented. “After the movie came out, some people said, ‘You changed.’” Sadly, she hasn’t been in anything as big since.
9. Christian Serratos
Christian Serratos was a veteran of the Disney Channel when she was cast as Angela Weber, one of Bella’s school friends. She was also a big fan of the Twilight novels. “I read all the books; I couldn’t put them down, and I just fell in love,” she told MTV in 2008.
Now, Serratos is known for much more than Twilight – The Walking Dead for a start – but hopefully her words from the 2008 interview still stand. “Twilight has been a great opportunity, and it’s been great fun. Hey, if I’m 50, and someone still wants an autograph for Twilight, okay, cool.”
8. Anna Kendrick
Playing another of Bella’s friends, Jessica Stanley, was Anna Kendrick – before she hit the big time. “For those of you thinking, Wait, she was in Twilight? I sure was,” the actress wrote in her 2016 autobiography, Scrappy Little Nobody.” However, she didn’t make the experience sound like an awful lot of fun.
Though the rest of the cast were polite to Kendrick, they were also exhausted. With Stewart, she wrote “Underneath every word, I heard, ‘You don’t know, man, you don’t know what it’s like out there.’” And the weather was awful. “Wet and cold is not an environment conducive to making friends,” she said.
7. Rachelle Lefevre
Poor Rachelle Lefevre. She was cast to play the evil vampire Victoria Sutherland in the first Twilight movie, and utterly threw herself into it. She put tons of work into perfecting her character, who she clearly adored. But after a brief taste of fame, it was suddenly all over. She was recast.
After a scheduling conflict blew up in 2009, Lefevre was replaced with Bryce Dallas Howard. Her devastation leaked through in the statement she released. “I am greatly saddened that I will not get to complete my portrayal of Victoria for the Twilight audience,” she said. “This is a story, a theatrical journey and a character that I truly love and about which I am very passionate.”
6. Cam Gigandet
Cam Gigandet had to do some pretty difficult things on the Twilight set, such as fighting off Pattinson’s character while both were covered in cheese and honey. When Vanity Fair asked him in 2008 if he was prepared for fame brought on by the franchise, he responded, “I’m just hanging on.”
Gigandet did, however, perform a video for the website Funny or Die, where he fights off a multitude of screaming Twilight fans. Sure, it was silly and over-the-top, but there might have been a little truth to it as well. Interestingly after Twilight, Gigandet starred in the movie Priest, as a vampire hunter.
5. Michael Sheen
Welsh actor Michael Sheen was known for highbrow political movies and roles, so surely he couldn’t be interested in Twilight? But he was. When he accepted the role of Aro, an evil mind-reading vampire, he did so for the sake of his daughter. Lily, his child with Kate Beckinsale, was a huge fan of the Twilight books.
“I was mainly excited about it because I knew I would make my daughter very happy,” Sheen told the Daily Record in 2009. “… And then I read the books and I really enjoyed them. I didn’t think I was going to, but I really did.”
4. Edi Gathegi
When he first auditioned for Twilight, Edi Gathegi wasn’t actually aware that his character, Laurent Twilight, was a vampire. He also presumably wasn’t aware of the difficulties that came with playing him. Not only was he lumbered with red contact lenses, he couldn’t even wear shoes in the freezing cold weather.
By the time of the second movie he got his shoes, but he also had greenscreen acting to contend with. He told MTV in 2008, “We basically acted with a man holding a piece of cardboard shaped like a cow. So when you see the movie, look at my eyes and [decide], is he seeing a cow or is he seeing a wolf?”
3. Dakota Fanning
Actress Dakota Fanning was only 15 when she joined the cast of Twilight: New Moon. She had a blast on the set. “I was just there for a week and a half and got to have so much fun. I was really excited to be a part of it,” she told Entertainment Weekly in 2009.
Fanning played Jane, one of the more evil vampires in the story. “This is a character that really takes pleasure in causing people pain. And that’s kind of a fascinating character to get to play,” she told EW. Another fascinating character is coming up for her: she’s playing “Manson family” member Lynette Fromme in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
2. Booboo Stewart
Booboo Stewart is now a star of Disney’s Descendants franchise, plus he plays Warpath in X-Men: Days of Future Past. But his first major role was as Seth Clearwater in Twilight, and it wasn’t pleasant being so famous so young. While he was still 16, he was hit on by much older women.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Stewart was also punched in the face while at a signing in 2010, apparently by someone who hated Twilight. It’s very hard being a teenage star, unfortunately. However, he’s 24 now and if his latest roles are anything to go by, including in Westworld, he has a good career ahead of him.
1. Billy Burke
Billy Burke played Bella’s father Charlie Swan, who became a surprising favorite among Twilight fans. And Burke had enormous fun playing the role. “I’ve loved playing that part,” he told AV Club in 2012. “I’ve loved playing basically the only guy in the entire storyline who has no idea what’s going on.”
Burke also credits the Twilight saga with helping him be a better father to his daughter, who was born during filming. “I now have a deeper and more realistic understanding of what it’s like to have a daughter in the world,” he told MTV in 2009, adding that he hoped she would grow up to be like Bella.