Ever since official news came of a motion picture version of “Twilight,” debate raged over casting. Initially, a lot of that centered around the character of Edward with a fan favorite for the role being Tom Welling, aka Clarke Kent of “Smallville” fame. Stephanie Meyers herself made a telling comment–that the story utterly depends upon believing that Edward might kill Bella if he loses control. One can’t really believe that of Superboy.
Complaints soon followed, and continued, with the announcement of who got the coveted leads. It has been years, without much letup. For every pair of fangirls who think Robert Pattinson dreamy beyond words at least one other sees him as fugly. Likewise, Kristen Stewart at Bella. How many times have all us heard complaints about her? She isn’t pretty enough. Cannot act. Seems cold.
Let us examine other possibilities then. No secret who Myers hoped to play Bella–the Australian actress Emily Browning. One can easily see why. Browning turned the role down, and from a purely business viewpoint that may have been a big error when one views the films she’s done in the last two or three years (most recently “Sucker Punch”). But given that she did say ‘No,’ we are left to ponder other possible choices. Bella as written comes across as shy, intelligent, brave, fragile and give to emotional obsession–pale with dark hair. Summer Glau comes to mind, if she could ever banish from audience’s minds her own formidable physical skills. Anyone who saw her in “Firefly” might find that very believable. She many times veered between the air of a walking, talking doll made of spun glass, and that of a girl-shaped katana blade!
Another choice might have been Daveigh Chase, initially best known as the demonic little girl in “The Ring” but who has since appeared on the cable series “Big Love” as well as starring in the (generally panned) sequel to “Donnie Darko.” But she certainly meets the bill, not least because unlike the first three choices it takes no effort to believe she might be killed at any moment. Fear that such might happen motivates much of Edward’s behavior in the first four films, so one can all the more easily understand casting Miss Chase.
On the other hand, all three of these actresses are so extremely pretty it strains credulity to believe they don’t realize it–at least to some degree. That can be mended, though. One obvious way would be to surround them with even more obviously attractive and voluptuous females and then allow good acting to take its course.
Then again, one could go with something of the choice they made–cast a pretty young woman, but one lacking much glamor. Kristen Stewart’s Bella certainly comes across as something like a tomboy, at least in her own mind. The same could be said of Laura Prepon, regular on the now-ended hit “The 70s Show.” Her skills remain unquestioned, her attractiveness real without seeming otherworldly at all, but she lacks what some call Stewart’s whining quality.
What of Edward? Other than Welling, two other possibilities bubble up to the imagination’s surface. What if, for example, another of the stars of “Twilight” had been cast as Edward? Consider Jackson Rathbone, who instead plays Jasper. Without bleaching, his hair remains the brown of the book’s Edward and those who’ve gotten a chance to see him in other roles (like a particularly memorable episode of “Criminal Minds”) can attest not only to ability, but an intensity very appropriate to the part. Finally–and ironically–there is one more name offered up for consideration. When “Twilight” as in development, he was best known for a recurring role on “Lost,” where he began to make some hearts throb. He also demonstrates that quality the author so desired–danger. In fact, given that he didn’t play Edward he ended up with a role one might consider the next-best-thing.
Ian Somerholder, aka Damon on “The Vampire Diaries.”
What are your choices?