Well, we can’t blame Hollywood for trying to ride the success of The Twilight Saga. The books have sold over 150 million copies worldwide and the movies have made millions at the box office. Naturally, filmmakers want to make a movie and they want to make it about a vampire. It would seem that the perfect story would be about a romance between a vampire and a human – just like in the books. But, if you’ll remember, Hollywood didn’t exactly cover all the bases with the movies. The Twilight Saga doesn’t always do a great job of depicting vampirism accurately, so it’s understandable that filmmakers wanted to flesh out the story in a more cinematic fashion.
But, sometimes, the books are better than the movies. And in the case of Robert Pattinson, the screenwriter didn’t do the actor any favors by adapting the story into a romantic comedy. It’s easy to see why Pattinson didn’t want to be a part of Twilight, at least not in its original form. After all, it’s not often that an actor is paired with a writer on screen, and what’s more is that the writer has previous professional experience in handling vampire material – specifically, the Harry Potter series.
It seems that when the first Twilight movie was being planned, the studio wanted a writer with experience in adapting famous fiction for the big screen. Fortunately, Michael Horowitch was available and he’d already written the screenplay for Young Adult fantasy novel, The Flight of the Princess. In this adaptation, a princess must hide her identity and protect her family from an evil sorcerer in order to stop an invasion led by a vampire. It’s also important to note that this movie doesn’t focus on vampires per se, but it does introduce the concept of blood magic and how it can be used to ensnare and control someone’s actions.
With the world already knowing so much about vampires, it’s no surprise that Michael Horowitch’s screenplay for The Flight of the Princess is regarded as one of the best and most cinematic introductions to the vampire genre.
Why Aren’t There More Female Vampires?
It’s a common misconception that vampires are primarily an endangered species. Hollywood could learn a lot from Anne Rice, whose vampire characters regularly pop up in the news because they’ve been spotted on the streets of New Orleans. According to the New York Daily News, Rice has said that, “Vampires only exist in folklore. Nowadays, when people think of vampires, they usually think of Dracula or of fictional characters from books or movies.”
The reason why these fictional vampires have become such prominent figures in folklore is because of Anne Rice’s exceptionally good writing. She’s created a world that both readers and moviegoers have fallen in love with. It’s not that vampires haven’t existed in real life. People have gotten sick, been bitten, and even turned into vampires – but it’s been very rarely that these incidents have made the headlines. It’s simply a matter of people not wanting to acknowledge the existence of vampires. And, until recently, that’s still largely the case. The last century has seen many instances of vampires attacking their victims and draining their blood, but for the most part, they’ve done so in the shadows.
It wasn’t until the early 1900s that vampires started making prominent appearances in the news. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was, in fact, the first of many vampires to be “rediscovered” and it was thanks to advances in science and technology that brought these creatures into focus. While the use of modern photography and innovative stylings in Dracula led to a great surge in popularity, it was also the start of a whole new era in which vampires found themselves featured more prominently in popular culture.
These days, vampires aren’t just limited to books and movies. They’ve made their way into video games, comic books, and even sports. In Major League Baseball, there’s a type of pitcher known as a “vampire pitcher” because of the deceptive speed with which they can move their pitches. It’s only in the past few years that people have started becoming more open-minded towards vampires, and it’s likely that this newfound love for these creatures will lead to more female vampires being featured prominently in pop culture.
But that doesn’t mean that all vampires are created equal. While fictional vampires have been around for a long time, it wasn’t until the early 20th century that people started to realize the inherent danger that real-life vampires pose to humans. It was, in fact, Dr. Louis Pasteur who first coined the term “Vampire” to refer to a type of person who consumed blood products. In his honor, blood that hasn’t been collected via intravenous drip is now referred to as “Blood Pasteurization”.
In the 21st century, blood donations have become a booming industry, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world. Many blood banks had to close down because they didn’t have enough blood donors. Demand far exceeded supply, which is why we’re seeing so many blood drives all over the world. The need for blood is, in fact, one of the main reasons why people are becoming more accepting of vampires. And it’s not just about donating blood either. There’s also the growing trend of “Vampire Diets”, where celebrities and socialites reduce their carbon footprint by going vegan and limiting their nightly vampirism to nothing more than a splash of red in the mouth.
Is Edward Actually a Villain?
One thing that the Twilight Saga does get right is presenting Edward as a rather flawed character. Or, at least, he comes across that way. The handsome prince, who initially protects Bella from the wrath of a territorial vampire, turns out to be a dangerous and manipulative creature. And it isn’t long before he’s using his extraordinary powers to take advantage of Bella and keep her under his thrall. Fortunately, Edward is portrayed as a sympathetic character by an excellent cast of actors, which makes him more three-dimensional and, therefore, more likeable.
It’s one thing to write a character in a novel that you know is going to turn out to be evil. It’s another thing to write a character that you think is good and then have that person turn out to be the complete opposite. But, sometimes, this is what happens. In the original Twilight, we’re never really convinced that Edward is meant to be aligned with “the good” and, as the story progresses, it becomes more and more apparent that he’s doing his best to undermine Bella and her friends. The more sympathy that Edward garners, the more dangerously he becomes.
When you have a literary creation that’s been around for centuries, it’s easy to see how some people could get obsessed with it. The Harry Potter books have spawned a worldwide craze and have been translated into over 50 languages. It’s no surprise that, when J.K. Rowling finished the final installment of the series, it became the fastest-selling book of all time, not to mention the biggest-selling book ever in the English language. The obsession that some people have with Rowling’s work, and with vampires in general, is understandable. But, at least in the case of Robert Pattinson, it wasn’t a good thing.
During an appearance on The Howard Stern Show, the Twilight actor said, “I started getting really scared because I started seeing a lot of people on the internet who were saying hateful things about the book. And when that happens, it sets off a chain reaction in me, where it makes me question if I should continue with this movie or not.”
In an attempt to appease his fans and put out the fires that were being started by the hateful messages, Pattinson released a statement saying that, “I don’t get approached very often by crazy fans who want to kill me, so I treat it as a compliment.” Perhaps this is why the vast majority of reports regarding Pattinson’s time on set have been rather negative. According to TMZ, the 24-year-old Briton was allegedly “fucking terrible” as a director and “made numerous mistakes” during the making of Twilight. In spite of all this, the film was a box-office success and, to date, it remains one of the top-grossing collaborations between a screenwriter and actor.
But maybe Stephenie Meyer was right about Edward. Who knows – maybe she should’ve left the handsome prince where she found him. Or at least given him a decent backstory. It wouldn’t hurt either if she softened him up a bit. The more that we learn about Prince Edward, the more sympathetic he seems. For instance, after voraciously consuming Bella’s blood, the young man comes to regret the act and seeks redemption. And it’s not until then that we discover that Edward is actually the son of a baron and was born with extraordinary abilities – including the power to seduce mortals with a single look.