Catherine Hardwicke and the cast look back on the movie's vampire ballgame
Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series added many things to the concept of a vampire. They sparkle in the sunlight. They can be “vegetarian,” which makes their eyes orange. But perhaps greatest of all is this: They love baseball.
One of the most memorable scenes in 2008’s Twilight, the Catherine Hardwicke-directed first chapter in the film series of Meyer’s books, is Bella Swan’s first taste of America’s pastime à la bloodsuckers. Alice on the mound, Rosalie at the top of the order, and Muse blasting on the soundtrack, it’s a high point in a movie full of very high points.
In honor of Twilight’s 10th anniversary, EW caught up with Hardwicke, Peter Facinelli (Carlisle Cullen), Jackson Rathbone (Jasper Cullen), and Kellan Lutz (Emmett Cullen) about the beloved teen film — and its supernatural ballgame.
“We went into training,” Hardwicke remembers. “Rob [Pattinson], as a U.K. person, did not play baseball, [Ashley Greene] had never pitched, Nikki [Reed] had never slid into home plate, and all that stuff. There was a lot of training, so that was camaraderie-building. We went to an indoor gym in Portland where everyone learned to play baseball.”
“I remember thinking, on the page, ‘How are we going to make this look cool? How is this not going to be just B-movie camp?’” Rathbone admits. “But luckily we were in the hands of an incredible cinematographer — and of course Catherine Hardwicke directed the hell out of it.”
“Her rambunctious personality I fell in love with,” Lutz says of the filmmaker. “I really thrived on that. Any setup she had, she’d get in there and act it out in her own way. Like during the baseball scene, she had us acting like cats and bears and animals, so we could give life to these vampires who are the undead, and don’t have much going on.”
“Jackson was very good physically; Kellan is very good physically. So they got to do all the wirework, and all this crazy s—,” Hardwicke recalls. Rathbone is especially proud of some one thing he pulled off: “My little baseball bat trick that I did, that was just me improvising, but it became kind of a thing with the Twilight Jasper fans,” the actor says. “A lot of people thought it was CGI and I’ve had to prove it many, many times that I can do it in real life.”
Prepared though the actors were for the physical demands of the game, there were still some challenges when it came time to shoot. “The location was beautiful, out on the Columbia River Gorge,” Hardwicke says, “but the climate was all over the place.”
“I think the first scene [we shot] was the baseball scene,” Facinelli remembers. “We had rehearsed that scene for a week, and then the day we went to shoot it, it was raining outside. We were all sitting in a little tiny shed in the middle of the woods, trying to stay out of the rain.”
(Obviously, vampires can only play baseball during a heavy storm, because their superspeed and super-strength is so loud and potentially earth-shaking that they need the camouflage of thunder and lightning. “That’s true,” Facinelli says when reminded of this crucial detail. “But for filming purposes, when it’s raining too hard, you can’t. You’ve got to stop. Light rain is okay, but heavy, heavy rain, you’ve got to stop filming.” Fair.)
“It was raining a lot,” Rathbone corroborates. “You don’t see that, but you needed it dreary. How do we film these vampires? We need it to be overcast, but not too overcast that it rains.”
“It was like, the first day couldn’t have gone worse,” Facinelli admits. “At one point we had to stop production. People’s makeup was running down their faces, it was cold, it was wet, and it just felt like everything was falling apart. And somehow Catherine got it back up on its wheels.”
In the true independent spirit, they waited out the rain and got the shots they needed. Because at this point — the first day on the first installment in the franchise — everyone still thought they were making a scrappy little indie movie. “The first Twilight movie was an indie film,” Rathbone says. “We didn’t know it was going to be this blockbuster franchise.”
“Then, all the actors, we were all innocent, there was a purity to us,” Lutz adds. “We were like, ‘Man, I wonder if anybody’s going to see this film,’” Facinelli remembers. “We were doing this little vampire movie in the woods.”
Additional reporting by Christian Holub