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Twilight Almost Had A Different Cast

Since the fateful day it was announced who would be tasked with portraying Bella Swan and Edward Cullen on the big screen, much of the Twilight fandom revolved around its central cast. Seemingly overnight, the original film turned Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart into household names with ardent fanbases that endure to this very day. The fascination over the Twilight stars has only intensified now that staples of the franchise like Pattinson and Stewart have become celebrated dramatic artists. 

Given how important these actors are to both Twilight and its reputation, it goes without saying that the casting process was similarly crucial to this series. And during this process, names like Pattinson and Stewart weren't always the first picks for their respective roles. A number of other actors were considered for the parts of Bella Swan, Edward Cullen, and countless other supporting roles in the Twilight saga. A handful of these actors found other parts in the franchise to occupy while a slew of other performers missed out on the chance to sink their teeth into this series. The reasons vary greatly for why these actors weren't cast, but their absence from Twilight paved the way for certain actors to take on parts they'll forever be associated with.

Lily Collins auditioned for the part of Bella Swan

In the wake of Twilight's massive box office success, it was inevitable that Hollywood would try and copy that movie's model. This was especially true in 2013, the year after the Twilight franchise came to a close. Numerous clones like Beautiful Creatures and The Host tried to prove themselves as the successor to the Twilight throne. Among these knockoffs was The Mortal Instruments: The City of Bones, which starred Lily Collins. In an intriguing coincidence, Collins had once been up for the role of Bella Swan in the original Twilight movie.

Collins dropped this revelation while promoting Mortal Instruments, though she stressed that her prospects for the part never got farther than an audition. "This was many years ago," Collins explained to CraveOnline. "I was new on the scene, new at auditioning, and it was always kind of this, 'What's going to happen?' everyone in the waiting room waiting for you. One of those anxious days as a young actor." She also has no regrets about missing out on the part, noting, "I think everything happens for a reason and everyone who gets the roles they get were meant to. I'm a firm believer in that." Though that may be true, it's still fascinating to see someone who was up for Bella Swan starring in a Twilight rip-off.

Emily Browning could've played the lead role in Twilight

It's hard to imagine anyone else beyond Kristen Stewart playing the part of Bella Swan, but initially, she wasn't the first choice for the character. Twilight author Stephenie Meyer made it readily clear that her first pick for the role was actress Emily Browning. This interest in Browning for the part of Bella Swan has led to rumors that she explicitly turned down the role, but the Sucker Punch actress herself has made sure to clarify the truth.

"People are coming up to me and saying, 'Oh, my God. You turned [Twilight] down?' and all this horrible stuff! What actually happened is that I was asked to audition, not take the part, but to just audition," Browning clarified to MTV in 2009. Despite the Twilight crew having such enormous interest in Browning for the part, she'd just come off the horror movie The Uninvited and saw the role as too daunting. "I'm not the type of person who can just work back to back. So I was just exhausted, and I was like, 'I'm sorry, but I just can't sign on to a trilogy right now.' I was exhausted, and I needed to come home and hang out with my family for a little bit."

The actress then went on to say that although she hadn't seen the movie, she was "sure Kristen [Stewart] did a billion times better job" than she would have. Starring in Twilight could've been an exciting opportunity, but it's understandable that Browning opted to not burn herself out, instead.

Ben Barnes was almost Edward Cullen

Ben Barnes got his first major acting gig playing Prince Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. The film grossed $419.6 million worldwide, ensuring that Barnes was seen by countless moviegoers worldwide. However, he almost had the chance to take his career to an even greater level of popularity by appearing in an even more prominent franchise role. This chance emerged when he auditioned for the part of Edward Cullen for the first Twilight movie.

As revealed by Barnes himself, the producers apparently were very keen for him to play the role. "I was the first person they kind of approached about it," Barnes noted (via Twilight Lexicon), a notion that should shock diehard Pattinson fans everywhere. However, despite initial intense interest for Barnes to occupy the role, obstacles emerged that prevented him from taking the part. Specifically, Barnes' commitments to the Narnia movies and his age ended up preventing him from portraying Twilight's heartthrob vampire. 

"They didn't want to mix Narnia and Twilight," Barnes explained. "I think it's dangerous to mix characters from franchises while you're doing one. So [director Catherine Hardwicke] definitely didn't want Prince Caspian being Edward Cullen. ... And secondly, I'd still be shooting at age 30, playing 17, and nobody wants to see that." Despite things starting out so promisingly, this marked the end of Barnes' time with the Twilight franchise, a development that left him time to play Prince Caspian again in the 2010 movie The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Jackson Rathbone could've been Twilight's undead hero

Across all five Twilight movies, Jackson Rathbone played the role of Jasper Hale. The adoptive brother of Edward Cullen, he was also the husband of fellow series staple Alice Cullen. But while he landed a prominent role in the series, Rathbone apparently came close to securing an even bigger part in the form of lead character Edward Cullen.

Rathbone opened up about how close he came to the part in an October 2009 MTV interview, in which he noted that the reasons for him not getting picked for the role involved the creative instincts of Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke. "I was a choice," Rathbone recalled. "I don't think I was [Hardwicke's] first choice." Without enthusiasm from the director, Rathbone's chances of portraying Edward Cullen quickly dwindled, and Pattinson was cast in the role, instead. 

Still, Rathbone, unlike many other actors who lost out on Twilight roles, did manage to find his way into the Twilight franchise eventually thanks to the part of Jasper. Plus, Rathbone made it clear in the same interview that he holds no animosity towards the eventual choice for Edward Cullen. "I think he's the best man for the job," Jackson remarked. "I wouldn't have another Edward Cullen than Robert Pattinson. He's perfect." It can be rough to miss out on playing a character like Edward, but getting to still play a sizeable role in the Twilight franchise makes that bitter development easier to swallow.

Steven Strait almost turned into Jacob Black

Some authors step away entirely from film adaptations of their own works. Stephenie Meyer wasn't one of those authors. On the contrary, she was quite open about her own creative desires for the adaptations of her Twilight books. This was especially true regarding the casting, with Meyer openly talking about her desires for who she wanted to play the live-action incarnations of her characters. This included werewolf hunk Jacob Black, a character that would go on to be played by Taylor Lautner. When the Twilight movies were first getting off the ground, though, Meyer thought Jacob Black needed to be portrayed by Steven Strait.

Strait's not a household name, but for moviegoers of a certain age, his performance as Warren Peace in Sky High made him an instant heartthrob. The fact that he was set to headline the Roland Emmerich blockbuster 10,000 B.C. just as Twilight was first getting cast made it look like Strait was headed for blockbuster stardom. However, this career trajectory didn't help Strait get the role of Jacob. Eventually, the casting wishes of Meyer were mostly ignored, including her proposal for Strait to play the werewolf, which paved the way for Lautner to take on the part. While Strait never got the role of Jacob Black or further blockbuster movie roles after 10,000 B.C., he's done just fine as an actor thanks to his lead role on the hit Amazon Prime show The Expanse. 

Christian Serratos originally wanted Anna Kendrick's Twilight role

In late 2018, Anna Kendrick made headlines with a tweet referencing her supporting performance as Jessica Stanley in the Twilight movies. The tweet had Kendrick amusingly noting, "I just remembered I was in Twilight." Though it may have slipped Kendrick's mind, the Pitch Perfect star did indeed have a notable part in the series, one that served as her breakthrough role. It was also a part that another actor vividly remembers auditioning for.

Christian Serratos, who ended up playing Angela Weber, actually auditioned for the role of Jessica Stanley. "I initially went in for Jessica," Serratos explained to MTV News. "I did the auditions, and I got called in a couple times for Jessica." Of course, this role wasn't meant for Serratos, with Kendrick eventually taking on the part. But this wasn't the only Twilight character Serratos had her eyes on.

"Reading the books, I fell totally in love with Angela," Serratos continued in the same interview. "So when they said I was going to have the opportunity to audition for Angela, I really took advantage." While her auditions as Jessica didn't go anywhere, something clearly went right for Serratos when she auditioned for Bella's classmate. In the process, the performer managed to find her place in the Twilight franchise, even if it meant first losing out on a role that Anna Kendrick totally forgot about.

Lucy Hale lost out on Twilight ... twice

Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale has managed to appear in a number of movies over the years, including lead roles in horror films like Truth or Dare and Fantasy Island. For all those ups in her film career, Hale has also had downs, like losing out on not one but two roles in the Twilight franchise. 

In an interview with J-14, Hale recalled how she first went out for the role of Alice when the first Twilight movie was getting its cast together. "I auditioned for [the role of] Alice," Hale said. "I read the books, and I wanted to be part of the first movie so bad." That enthusiasm didn't help her out, as Ashley Greene ended up getting the part, instead.

Undaunted, Hale made another swing at the franchise by auditioning for the part of Jane in New Moon ... but that also didn't work out. Once again, Hale was left out in the cold by the producers of Twilight, who opted to cast Dakota Fanning in the role. Despite missing out on two separate chances to be part of the Twilight universe, Hale has maintained a good attitude about the franchise. "I love everyone they've cast," Hale reassured. "I'm such a believer in everything happens for a reason, and it's all about timing."

Michael Copon campaigned hard for Jacob Black

When Summit Entertainment first announced that a film adaptation of New Moon had been greenlit, a number of names were said to be returning to the project, including Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. However, one cast member absent from the announcement was Taylor Lautner. At the time, Summit said it was undecided on if Lautner would be back in the role of Jacob Black, with insiders reporting that the character's drastic physical transformation between the books caused the producers to consider recasting the part. For a moment, the hunt was on to find Lautner's successor.

One actor eyeballed to take on this task was One Tree Hill performer Michael Copon. He wasn't just being looked at by the studio for the role — Copon himself took to his Facebook page to lobby for the part, posting statuses like, "Michael Copon [is] in a Twilight zone!" Though Copon was enthusiastic about landing the part, Lautner wasn't giving up the role of Jacob Black without a fight. The actor engaged in extensive weight-training to show the Twilight producers that he could get the physique necessary to portray the character. 

Early in January 2009, it was revealed that Lautner's exercise regime had done its job and ensured him the chance to reprise the role of Jacob Black in New Moon. Copon, meanwhile, was left out of the chance to play Jacob despite his enthusiastic Facebook posts.

John C. Reilly could've been a Twilight daddy

One way the Twilight films have differentiated themselves from most other modern movie franchises is their low budgets. The initial Twilight film had a $37 million budget, while the most expensive Twilight film, Breaking Dawn – Part 2, had a $136 million budget. Sure, it's a bit bigger, but that's way shy of your average Transformers or Avengers budget. Because of this, the films have largely utilized unknown or character actors to keep costs down. 

At one point, though, the series could've utilized a very well-known Oscar nominee in the form of John C. Reilly. The actor was eyeballed for the role of Charlie Swan, Bella Swan's father. The casting came directly from Stephenie Meyer herself, who posted on her website that Reilly was her dream pick for the role. However, her ambitious choice never materialized, and there's no evidence that Twilight distributor Summit Entertainment ever approached Reilly for the part. Instead, Billy Burke ended up taking the role. Interestingly, this isn't the first major YA role that's slipped through Reilly's fingers. The Chicago actor was actually offered the part of Haymitch in The Hunger Games, a role that eventually went to Woody Harrelson.

The inherent nature of alternate casting means we'll never know for certain if Reilly would've been able to utilize his talents as a performer in the Twilight movies. However, given Reilly's track record for constantly impressing, it's likely he could've made the Twilight movies a beautiful ride.

Channing Tatum almost brought magic to Twilight

Over the course of his career, Channing Tatum has proven to be an impressively versatile performer. As shown by Hail, Caesar!, he can be an old-school song-and-dance man, while his skills with physical movement also came in handy with the two Magic Mike movies. Plus, through the 21 Jump Street films and Logan Lucky, he's proven to have a gift for comedy. But one part of Tatum's acting repertoire we never got to see was how he'd fare acting in the world of the Twilight movies.

Tatum was apparently on the radar of the Twilight creators, particularly in the eyes of screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg. For her, Tatum was the first choice for the role of Riley in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. "There's a very big battle at the end with Riley, and I think Channing would do that so well," Rosenberg explained (via Screen Rant). She also said that Riley is a "tragic" character who "has to break your heart a little bit" at the end of the film, adding, "Channing could do that beautifully." 

Despite Rosenberg's initial wishes, Channing Tatum never made his way into the Twilight universe. Instead, Xavier Samuel was eventually cast in the role, depriving the world the chance of seeing what the leading man from White House Down would've done with fangs and pale skin.