Twilight studio executives found Robert Pattinson while looking through Harry Potter cast photos. The English actor began his film career in 2005 with a role in the fourth movie in the wizarding series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. At 18 years of age, Pattinson played the young wizard Cedric Diggory, the boy who competes for Hogwarts in the Triwizard Tournament alongside Harry and is murdered by Peter Pettigrew on Voldemort’s orders in Little Hangleton.
After playing the relatively minor Harry Potter character in limited screen time, Pattinson went on to gain further recognition for his portrayal of the brooding vampire Edward Cullen alongside Kristen Stewart’s Bella Swan in the Twilight film saga from 2008 to 2012, a series that ended up grossing over $3.3 billion worldwide. Pattinson has since starred in a number of independent projects from auteur directors, from David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis to Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse, before returning to the mainstream for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and Matt Reeves’ The Batman. However, he has struggled to shed the personas of Cedric Diggory and certainly Edward Cullen.
During a recent appearance on The Big Hit Show podcast, Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke and studio executive Erik Feig reflected on the difficult casting process for Edward Cullen, explaining that the actors who auditioned for the part were too “captain of the football team.” In search of “someone Byronic,” Feig turned to headshots of young stars from the Harry Potter franchise, eventually landing on Pattinson. Read what Hardwicke and Feig had to say below:
Hardwicke: I wanted somebody that didn’t seem like a real person. Who is that going to be? This vampire has lived for 90-something years. He’s ethereal, he’s special, he’s unique, he’s internal, he’s brooding, he’s everything.
Feig: I remember saying, “It’s someone Byronic. It’s someone British. I’m telling you, it’s someone who’s on a bluff staring off into the distance, looking romantic.” I said, “What’s up with him?” And [creative executive Gillian Bohrer] said, “Cedric Diggory,” And I said, “Yeah, who’s that?” And she said, “Rob Pattinson.” And I said, “Did he read for us?” And she said, “No.” And I said, “Why?” And she said, “I don’t know.” I said, “Well, let’s see if he can read.”
Harry Potter and Twilight have been invariably linked throughout the years due to the similarities they share from being based on popular book series by J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer, their fantastical nature, and passionate fandoms. This makes it a much more interesting revelation that studio executives sifted through Harry Potter cast photos to find their Edward Cullen. While it was previously assumed that Pattinon’s small role as Cedric Diggory elevated his profile and led to his casting in Twilight, there was actually a much more direct correlation between the two.
Pattinson’s career has come a long way since the critically panned and oft-mocked Twilight movies. With The Batman primed to be a hit at the box office and seemingly the first in a planned trilogy, Pattinson has likely found the next film series and role that will define the ensuing phase of his career. The wait for his debut as the Dark Knight is almost over, as The Batman premieres in theaters on March 4.