Twilight, Then and Now
In 2008, supernatural teen romance mania shifted into overdrive when the first of Stephenie Meyer’s wildly popular Twilight novels hit the big screen. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson instantly ascended to A-list status when they were cast as the saga’s star-crossed lovers: Klutzy human teen Bella Swan and her enigmatic vampire paramour, Edward Cullen. And so the lion fell in love with the lamb…and then went on to have creatively fulfilling careers filled with critically acclaimed bodies of work!
Before she was Bella Swan, Kristen Stewart was a child actress, most notably playing Jodie Foster’s young daughter in 2002’s Panic Room. As a teenager, her credits included 2005’s Zathura and 2007’s In the Land of Women and Into the Wild. Since becoming one of the most bankable stars in the world at age 18, she’s parlayed her mega-fame into freedom when choosing roles. While one of her first post-Twilight parts was the title princess in another big-budget romance, 2012’s Snow White & The Hunstman, Stewart has in recent years gravitated more towards indie and art-house projects, including 2014’s Still Alice and Clouds of Sils Maria (for which she became the first American actress to win a César Award); 2015’s American Ultra; 2016’s Certain Women, Café Society, Personal Shopper (her second collaboration with Sils Maria filmmaker Olivier Assayas), and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk; and 2017’s Lizzie.
Robert Pattinson’s career first took off when he was cast as handsome Hufflepuff Cedric Diggory in 2005’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. When he landed the role of the sensitive, sparkly teenage vampire Edward Cullen, however, he was launched to a whole new level of superstardom. Since the Twilight saga ended with 2012’s Breaking Dawn — Part 2, Pattinson, like Stewart, has been developing his art-house resume by taking on roles in a variety of indie and auteur projects, including David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis (2012) and Maps to the Stars (2014), Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert (2015), James Gray’s The Lost City of Z (2016), Josh and Benny Safdie’s Good Time (2017), and David Zellner’s Damsel (2017).
Before playing Jacob Black, the blossoming werewolf and third player in Twilight’s central love triangle, Taylor Lautner’s resume included 2005’s The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D and Cheaper by the Dozen 2, as well as a handful of TV credits. Post-Twilight, he has appeared in 2015’s The Ridiculous 6 and has had roles on the TV series Cuckoo and Scream Queens.
After a handful of TV appearances, Kellan Lutz landed his first film credits in 2006 with the teen comedies Stick It and Accepted before getting his breakout role as Emmett Cullen. Since playing Edward’s brother, the scariest, most fun-loving vamp in the family, many of Lutz’s film roles have been in action movies (Emmett would be so proud), including 2011’s Immortals, 2013’s Java Heat, 2014’s The Legend of Hercules, 2014’s The Expendables 3 and Extraction, and 2017’s Guardians of the Tomb.
Nikki Reed picked up her first film credit when she starred in 2003’s Thirteen, which she co-wrote with director Catherine Hardwicke, who later cast Reed as the beautiful but cold Rosalie Hale in the first Twilight film. Since Reed’s last performance as Rosalie, she has had roles in the films Pawn (2013), Balls Out (2014), and In Your Eyes (2014), among others, and played Betsy Ross on the third season of Sleepy Hollow. Reed is also a musician, and in 2012, she released an EP, The Best Part, with then-husband Paul McDonald.
Before he was Confederate soldier-turned-vegetarian vampire Jasper Hale, Jackson Rathbone made his big-screen debut in 2005’s River’s End, appeared in episodes of The O.C. and The War at Home, and had a major role in the short-lived drama Beautiful People. In the years since Breaking Dawn — Part 2, he has had roles on the series Aim High and Finding Carter, and in the films City of Dead Men (2014), Until We Meet Again (2016), and Pali Road (2016), among other credits.
Though she had a few film and TV credits under her belt when she joined the cast of Twilight, Ashley Greene got her breakout moment when she won the role of clairvoyant vampire Alice Cullen. Since the saga wrapped, she has had a recurring role on the police drama Rogue and appeared in the films CBGB (2013), Wish I Was Here (2014), Burying the Ex (2014), Staten Island Summer (2015), and In Dubious Battle (2016), among others.
When Peter Facinelli was cast as Cullen patriarch Carlisle, he was best known for starring in 1998’s Can’t Hardly Wait, minor roles in the films Riding in Cars with Boys (2001) and The Scorpion King (2002), and parts on the short-lived series Fastlane as well as Six Feet Under and Damages. Post-Twilight, he has had a main role on Nurse Jackie, recurring roles on Glee and Supergirl, and a part in the romantic comedy The Wilde Wedding (2017).
Before she played Edward’s adoptive mother, Esme Cullen, Elizabeth Reaser’s list of credits included the films Sweet Land (2005), The Family Stone (2005), and Puccini for Beignners (2006), among others, as well as a recurring role on Grey’s Anatomy and a starring role on the short-lived medical drama Saved. Since hanging up her (vegetarian) vampire fangs, Reaser has appeared in films including 2012’s Liberal Arts, 2015’s Hello, My Name Is Doris, and 2016’s Ouija: Origin of Evil, as well as the 2013 Bonnie and Clyde miniseries, episodes of Easy and True Detective, and her memorable gig as the controversial “Diana the Waitress” on the final season of Mad Men.
Billy Burke had racked up dozens of film and TV credits before he was cast as Charlie Swan, Bella’s perpetually worried father (can you blame him?). Since leaving Forks, he has had roles in the films Angels in Stardust (2013) and Lights Out (2016), as well as small turns on The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles, and Chicago P.D. and larger parts on Revolution and Zoo.
Bella’s mother Renée was played by Sarah Clarke, whose resume at the time included episodes of Sex and the City, Ed, Las Vegas, and 24, as well as the films Thirteen and Happy Endings. Post-Twilight, Clarke has appeared on Nikita and NCIS, had recurring roles on Covert Affairs and The Tomorrow People, and is currently part of the main cast of Bosch.
When Gil Birmingham was cast as Billy Black, Jacob’s father and Quileute council member, his long list of credits already included appearances on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Charmed, and Veronica Mars, as well as roles in the films Skins (2002) and End of the Spear (2005). Since the Twilight saga came to an end, he has appeared in The Lone Ranger (2013), Best Picture nominee Hell or High Water (2016), and Wind River (2017), as well as the TV series Banshee, House of Cards, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Before he was cast as the evil vampire James, Cam Gigandet had completed recurring roles on The O.C. and The Young and the Restless, among other film and TV appearances. Since saying goodbye to Twilight (after James’ fiery demise at the end of the first movie), his film credits include 2010’s Easy A, 2010’s Burlseque, 2011’s The Roommate, 2014’s In the Blood, and 2016’s The Magnificent Seven.
Twilight villain Victoria was played by Bryce Dallas Howard in Eclipse, but Rachelle Lefevre originated the role in the first two films in the saga. Before she sought bloody vamp revenge against Edward and Bella, Lefevre’s credits included the films Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), Head in the Clouds (2004), and Fugitive Pieces (2007) as well as appearances on the shows Charmed, Bones, and Veronica Mars, among many others. Since her final saga appearance in 2009’s New Moon, Lefevre has appeared in the movies Barney’s Version (2010), Casino Jack (2010), Homefront (2013), White House Down (2013), and Hollow in the Land (2017), and the series A Gifted Man and Under the Dome.
Edi Gathegi made his big-screen debut in 2006’s Crank, which he followed up with 2007’s Gone Baby Gone and Death Sentence and a recurring role on House, before joining the cast of Twilight as the vampire Laurent. Since his character’s final appearance in 2011’s Breaking Dawn — Part 1, he has had roles in the films Aloha (2015) and Criminal Activities (2015) and appeared on the series Beauty & the Beast, Justified, The Blacklist, and StartUp.
Anna Kendrick was at the very beginning of her career when she was cast as Bella’s classmate Jessica Stanley in Twilight, having previously completed just a few credits, including the 2003 teen indie Camp. In the years since she first went to Forks, she has climbed the Hollywood ranks, and her long list of film credits includes 2009’s Up in the Air (for which she received an Oscar nomination), 2011’s 50/50, 2012’s End of Watch, 2013’s Pitch Perfect (and its 2015 and 2017 sequels), 2013’s Drinking Buddies, 2014’s The Last Five Years, 2014’s Into the Woods, 2015’s Digging for Fire, 2016’s Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, 2016’s Trolls, and 2017’s Table 19.
Michael Welch had been a celebrated actor for a decade when he was cast as sweet Mike Newton, Bella’s classmate with an unrequited crush. His first credit came on a 1998 episode of Frasier, and he would appear on many more series in the late ‘90s and early 2000s including Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place, The X-Files, and Malcolm in the Middle. He also had a main role on Joan of Arcadia and appeared in the film All the Boys Love Mandy Lane before joining the cast of Twilight. His more recent credits include episodes of Grimm, NCIS: New Orleans, Scandal, Lucifer, and Another Period, as well as a lead role on Z Nation.
Before playing Eric Yorkie, another one of Bella’s unfortunate human admirers, Justin Chon had collected a handful of film and TV credits, including a main role on the TEENick series Just Jordan. Since saying goodbye to Twilight, Chon’s TV resume includes episodes of House and New Girl and a recurring role on Dr. Ken. He made his feature directorial debut with 2015’s Man Up, and his second feature, Gook (which he also wrote, produced, and starred in), debuted at Sundance in 2017 and won the festival’s NEXT section Audience Award.
Christian Serratos made her film debut as Bella’s school friend Angela Weber, but had already appeared on a variety of TV shows, including Nickelodeon’s Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. Since Twilight ended, Serratos has appeared on American Horror Story: Murder House and The Secret Life of the American Teenager, but is best known for playing Rosita Espinosa on The Walking Dead.