How the cast of Twilight should really look
The movie adaptations of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga were beset with ridiculously high fan expectations thanks to how much adulation the characters’ looks received through the eyes of central narrator Bella Swan. From the impossible beauty (and sparkles) of the Cullen family vampires to the papery skin textures of the Volturi guardsmen to the animal strength of the Quileute pack members, Meyer’s attention to descriptive detail meant the cinematic iterations had to be perfectly faithful to keep fans happy. While some of the characters came to life just as written, others were practically unrecognizable.
To prove our point, our brilliant Photoshop team worked their magic on some of the characters to reveal how the movie sometimes got things pretty right and sometimes totally missed the mark. Plus, we’ve got some of the original illustrations to show you how the movie was at times eerily perfect. (We’re looking at you, Bella Swan!) Here’s how the cast of Twilight should really look, according to the books.
Bella’s thoughts on the “Adonis”-level attractiveness of Edward Cullen were constant throughout the entire Twilight series, and Meyer undoubtedly wore out her thesaurus in an effort to scurry up all the synonyms available to describe his burning golden eyes, crooked smile, and dazzling beauty. The casting of a relative newcomer (at the time) Robert Pattinson was based on more than just his striking looks, but that aspect was important to be sure. Whether or not he lived up to absolutely every reader’s standards, he was certainly good-looking enough (albeit a little too old for the role). His wardrobe throughout the series — um, what was with that sweatshirt in Eclipse? — was a different story, however. He also had the Cullens’ shared sullen complexion, deep eye shadows, and auburn bouffant to match the role…in the first installment, at least. But he still should’ve been dressed to the nines, much younger, and thinner than the on-screen variety.
Bella’s take: The last was lanky, less bulky, with untidy, bronze-colored hair. He was more boyish than the others…his face was absurdly handsome…he looked like he’d just finished shooting a commercial for hair gel. His dazzling face was friendly, open, a slight smile on his flawless lips. But his eyes were careful…Today, his eyes were a completely different color: a strange ocher, darker than butterscotch, but with the same golden tone. — Twilight
Forks High grade: 6/10 — To be fair, it was a pretty improbable feat that the filmmakers would ever live up to the character’s fantastic beauty described in the story because, ya know, it was a pretty lofty set of descriptions. But the Robsession that followed Pattinson’s turn in the role proved he certainly wasn’t anything to shake a stick at.
Unlike most of the Saga’s characters, Jacob Black went through a stunning bodily transformation throughout the Twilight Saga, rising from a likable kid to a chiseled man-child with russet skin (and fur, when in wolf form) that towered over Bella. Taylor Lautner certainly accelerated in musculature to match that growth spurt on the horizontal plane, but he never quite had the domineering posture of his literary counterpart.
Bella’s take: He looked fourteen, maybe fifteen, and had long, glossy black hair pulled back with a rubber band at the nape of his neck. His skin was beautiful, silky and russet-colored; his eyes were dark, set deep above the high planes of his cheekbones. He still had just a hint of childish roundness left around his chin. Altogether, a very pretty face…He flashed a brilliant smile. — Twilight
Forks High grade: 7/10 — Height notwithstanding, he had the flashy grin and abtacular physique to match the book. Even the big wig was a necessary evil.
The good doctor-slash-vampire patriarch Carlisle Cullen was pretty much all wrong. Peter Facinelli did a decent job imbuing all the requisite calm and compassion of his personality, of course, but he was much, much older than the character’s described age. In the books, he could barely pass for being in his 20s, but Facinelli was 35 when he first tackled the role. (Meyer originally wanted then-20-something Henry Cavill for the part.)
Bella’s take: He was young, he was blond…and he was handsomer than any movie star I’d ever seen. He was pale, though, and tired-looking, with circles under his eyes. — Twilight
Forks High grade: 5/10 — The age factor was as hard to ignore as the mixed-Brit accent Facinelli used in the role.
If there’s one character who looked almost nothing like the book’s description, it was Jane, as portrayed by Dakota Fanning. She wasn’t nearly as androgynous or tiny as written, and her blonde locks weren’t anything like the story version. She was supposed to be easily confused with her terror twin Alec (played by Cameron Bright), which was not the case at all.
Bella’s take: At first I thought it was a young boy. The newcomer was as tiny as Alice, with lank, pale brown hair trimmed short. The body under the cloak—which was darker, almost black—was slim and androgynous. But the face was too pretty for a boy. The wide-eyed, full-lipped face would make a Botticelli angel look like a gargoyle. Even allowing for the dull crimson irises. Her size was so insignificant that the reaction to her appearance confused me. — New Moon
Forks High grade: 4/10 — The grin was right, but that’s about it, and what was with the spoken “pain” line while she delivered her mind attack?
Charlie Swan wasn’t quite as likable on the page as Billy Burke made him on-screen. The cinematic ‘stache wasn’t exactly called for in the writings, but it somehow matched the character to a tee even still. Meanwhile, his kind brown eyes and everydayman exterior were exactly what the story ordered. If only he’d had the curly hair, it’d have been perfect.
Bella’s take: He smiled back, his brown eyes crinkling around the edges. When Charlie smiled, it was easier to see why he and my mother had jumped too quickly into an early marriage. Most of the young romantic he’d been in those days had faded before I’d known him, as the curly brown hair — the same color, if not the same texture, as mine — had dwindled, slowly revealing more and more of the shiny skin of his forehead. But when he smiled I could see a little of the man who had run away with Renée when she was just two years older than I was now. — Twilight
Forks High grade: 8/10 — Many Rainier beers for this one.