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Twilight Producers Thought That Robert Pattinson's Edward Cullen Was Too Sullen

Refinery29 logo Refinery29 8/7/2019 Christopher Luu
Robert Pattinson wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Refinery29 © Photo: Mustafa Yalcin/Getty Images. Refinery29

In a story that Olympian Simone Biles may be able to relate to, Robert Pattinson says that he was almost fired from his breakout role for not smiling enough. According to Vulture, Pattinson told Howard Stern that Twilight 's producers thought that he was being too serious in his role as a teenage vampire lusting after a human with a constantly clenched jaw.

Pattinson explained that he wanted to portray Edward Cullen as more brooding and stoic than happy-go-lucky. It seems logical now, since Cullen and Pattinson have basically melded into one entity. Plus, for a while, it was rare to see Pattinson smile in real life, which only added to the mystery and mystique behind his Twilight persona.

Well, it didn't quite work out. "[My agents] flew up and were like, 'You have to do the opposite of what you're doing now or you're going to get fired today,'" Pattinson told Stern of his stoic approach to star-crossed love.

To prove their point, producers handed Pattinson a copy of Stephanie Meyer's book and highlighted every instance of an Edward Cullen smile. It's tough to imagine a grown human being subjected the cruel and unusual punishment of that particular task, but Pattinson one-upped it. In the ultimate example of passive-aggressive performance, he returned the book with every instance of Cullen scowling or frowning. The rest is cinematic history, since Pattinson kept his job and cinephiles everywhere know Edward Cullen as a deeply developed, multi-layered example of artistic excellence.

For his part, Pattinson said that he was merely playing the role like it was any other young romance, with or without supernatural overtones. "If you're going into a relationship with someone, the way to make it really intense is if you can barely talk to each other, you can barely touch each other, it's incredibly serious all the time,” Pattinson told Stern. "That's what teenage relationships are. But everyone kind of wanted it to be, like, 'No, they should just be, like, happy and having fun. That's what people want.'"

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