When the fantastical vampire and werewolf inhabited world of Stephenie Meyer first came to life on the big screen in 2008’s Twilight, audiences clamored into theaters to watch the immortal love story of Bella and Edward. The film proved to be so popular (as was the book series upon which it was based) that it led to four more sequels, amounting to billions in worldwide receipts combined at the box office.
Now that time has passed since the initial fervor, though, have you revisited Forks? When you manage to move beyond adolescent obsession and watch the movie as an adult, there are some interesting details you may have missed the first time around.
The mysterious intro has a special meaning
In the opening scene, a fawn drinks from a puddle in the forest before being chased and captured by someone. As this scene plays out, Bella can be heard cryptically saying, “I’d never given much thought to how I could die, but dying in the place of someone I love seems like a pretty good way to go. So I can’t bring myself to regret the decision to leave home.” At this point, nothing is known about Bella, so the sequence fosters confusion. Since the scene segues straight into Bella leaving Phoenix, the meaning of those first few moments is unclear.
Author Stephenie Meyer admits that this passage was confusing even in the book — not to mention it occurs much later in the book than the movie. “Sometimes, things in the story are so clear to me that, when I write them, I don’t flesh them out or explain them well enough. Usually the editor will catch these kinds of things. However, if it’s just as clear to her, then confusion slips through.”
She explains that she now knows that this went over some people’s heads, so she continued: “So, to clear it all up: James is ‘the hunter.’ I think this term has caused some of the confusion, because later, he is a tracker. But he is hunting Bella, so, in that moment, that is how she thinks of him.” Meyer also clarifies on her website that Bella’s thoughts on dying are heard in the dance studio, near the end of the book.
They made a scientific mistake in the movie by showing Edward’s breath
After the parking lot debacle, Bella understandably gets it into her head that there may be more to Edward’s unique attributes than meets the eye. It’s at that point she does what any of us would do: turn to the internet for answers. The internet points her in the direction of a nearby bookstore, where Bella finds a book that delves into the myth of the werewolves and vampires Jacob once referenced. She starts to put two and two together, with one of the big qualifiers being that Edward is always icy cold to the touch. Now, hold that thought.
In several scenes of the movie, it’s made clear how cold the temperature is by seeing clouds of hot breath as they hit the frigid Forks air. This is particularly noticeable during scenes Edward and Bella share in the forest. But, wait… since Edward is a vampire and icy all the time, wouldn’t his breath also be cold and therefore not show up against the cold forest air? Hello, plot hole.
There are two weird things in Bella’s bedroom
Although it’s incredibly sweet that Bella’s dad had her bedroom ready and waiting for her when she arrived in Forks, one has to wonder who he enlisted to help with the decor. He credits the sales lady at the store for picking out the purple bedding set, which is nice enough. But there are two items of far more interest that jump out when Bella walks into the room for the first time. On a shelf opposite the door to her room, there appears to be a baby doll head (see 3:38 minute mark in clip). Where is its body? Why would one keep decapitated baby dolls lying around? Aren’t you grateful that’s a design trend that failed to launch?!
The second notable decor choice is a piece of artwork on the wall by the door. When the camera swings around to show Bella walking into the room, a painting or picture of a wolf comes into focus (see the 3:30 minute mark in the clip above). Since Bella will soon become best friends with a werewolf, this feels like a clever slip of foreshadowing.
Billy Black looks very familiar (and he should)
Shortly after Bella arrives in Forks, her dad’s best friend and his son show up with a truck they restored for Bella. The son, of course, is none other than Bella’s future-BFF-slash-imprinter-of-her-child, Jacob. Bella’s dad introduces Jacob’s old man as Billy Black.
If that face looks familiar upon re-watching, it’s because the actor who plays Billy — Gil Birmingham — has enjoyed regular roles on a few hit television series since Twilight was released in 2008. If you’re a House of Cards fan, you know him as Daniel Lanagin. If you’re a Banshee fan, you know him as George Hunter. And if you’re an Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt fan, you know him as Virgil. Naturally, there’s no way you could have predicted Billy Black would have become any of these people the first time you watched. Unless, that is, you happen to share Alice’s ability to see into the future.
Jacob’s hair definitely got better with time
Once you’ve watched the entire Twilight Saga series, there’s no doubt that the Most Improved Player award should go to Jacob’s hair. Re-watching the first film makes it painfully apparent how horrible the wig worn by actor Taylor Lautner really was! This isn’t a matter of conjecture either, as Lautner explicitly agrees. “The wig, it was a very important co-star,” he told MTV. “Right now I’m not missing much. There was a hatred between both of us. It did not like me, I did not like it. Not fond memories.”
Thank goodness for coming-of-age werewolf manifestations, right? If it weren’t for Jacob going through “the change” — at which point he starting sporting a shorter ‘do — he may have been stuck with Twilight‘s long wig for the duration of the series.
The apple is a motif
In the cafeteria scene when Bella first sees the Cullens, Rosalie holds an apple in her hand much like the one on the cover of the book. Coincidence? Probably not. Choosing an apple for the book’s cover proved to be part of Stephenie Meyer’s grand design.
The author explained on her website, “The apple on the cover of Twilight represents ‘forbidden fruit.’ I used the scripture of Genesis (located just after the table of contents) because I loved the phrase ‘the fruit of knowledge of good and evil.’ Isn’t this exactly what Bella ends up with?… The nice thing about the apple is it has so many symbolic roots. You’ve got the apple in Snow White, one bite and you’re frozen forever in a state of not-quite-death…. Apples are quite the versatile fruit. In the end, I love the beautiful simplicity of the picture. To me it says: choice,” .
One more thing about the Cullens in this scene that seems off: it appears they are all eating something. Isn’t that kind of a no-no for vampires? Are they doing this to keep up appearances? Inquiring minds want to know.
Robert Pattinson is actually British
On Bella’s first day of school, the science teacher pairs her with Edward in the lab. As he practically chokes over her scent, he is sitting right in front of a large taxidermied owl — and the way he is positioned makes it look as though he has angel wings. Intentional or not? You be the judge. But I digress… the point is, the owl looks just like Hedwig from Harry Potter, which brings to mind Pattinson’s Potter character Cedric Diggory. This reminds us that Pattinson is, in fact, British.
This is especially impressive when you consider Twilight was his first movie with an American accent (for which he had no formal training). “I keep forgetting that I’m speaking in an American accent sometimes,” he told MTV during an interview. “The dangerous thing is that you end up forgetting what your real accent is after awhile! It’s really strange — I’ve never done a job in an American accent before.” He went on to reveal he learned to speak with an American accent simply by growing up watching American movies.
Bella’s backpack defies the laws of physics
The scene in the parking lot where Bella almost gets crushed to death by a van is pivotal to Twilight‘s plot, because it’s the first inkling that Edward really isn’t like other guys. But Edward apparently isn’t the only one in the scene with extraordinary powers.
When Bella first walks out to her truck, she tosses her backpack onto the hood and glances back at Edward across the parking lot mere moments before the van comes barreling toward her. After the truck gets slammed by the tail-end of the van, the camera pans out to reveal Bella’s backpack seemingly hasn’t budged an inch. It still sits securely in the precise spot she put it down before impact.
So either Bella has some inexplicably heavy textbooks anchoring her backpack to that spot, or it defies the laws of physics.
Edward and Bella’s first real convo is painfully awkward
It’s easy to look back on Edward and Bella’s entire love story with starry eyes, but let’s be real: that first conversation they shared in the lab was a disaster. If you didn’t get a serious case of third-hand embarrassment while watching, you’re clearly an impenetrable fortress of emotional strength.
The awkwardness of that moment didn’t go unnoticed by the actors either. In an interview with MTV, Stewart said, “It’s maybe not romantic for them in the moment, but I think if they were ever to think back on the first time they spoke, that would’ve been like, ‘Whoa! Wow!’ Like, look what has happened since then — it’s very telling. That [moment] really informs a lot, when they sit and they try to talk to each other in the bio lab. It’s, like, impossible. One thing I find interesting about the story is that it’s not an easy love.”
So, basically, it was just as uncomfortable for them to film as it was for fans to watch.
The Cullens showed off their crest from the start
You may have found your eyes averting Edward and Bella’s faces during that strained conversation in the lab. In doing so, your gaze may just have landed on Edward’s wrist and the distinctive bracelet bearing some sort of crest. This doesn’t seem particularly meaningful until later in the movie, when Edward takes Bella to his house for dinner. There, Alice is wearing a necklace with the same crest. And if you look really closely, you realize pretty much all of the Cullens wear the insignia in one way or another. So what does it mean?
Apparently, it was created specifically for the movies by director Catherine Hardwicke. “This is something that’s not in the book; it’s a little detail in the movie that you are going to get a glimpse at,” actor Peter Facinelli explained in an interview with MTV. “It’s a family crest — the Cullen family crest — and each one of us carry it. Mine is in the form of a ring, some of the kids have it on as a bracelet, some have a pendant. Each one of us carries the family Cullen crest.”
One apple is still at large
Back onto the subject of apples, there’s a moment in the cafeteria when Edward starts chatting Bella up at the salad bar. She is arranging her salad in a bowl when he asks, “Edible art?” This startles Bella enough to knock her apple off the bar, which bounces off of Edwards foot. He catches it, cradling it in his hands just like the book cover. But, uh, then what happens to it? As Bella walks around to the opposite side of the salad bar and Edward follows, the apple is nowhere to be seen. Disappearing apples definitely categorize as hard-to-find produce, wouldn’t you say?
If you’re wondering how Pattinson managed to catch the apple, rest assured it was attached to a string for the scene. However, it still took the actors several attempts. “After we did it like a million times trying to get it right, I was about to give up,” director Catherine Hardwicke explained in a behind-the-scenes clip. “But finally take 13 actually worked.”
Kristen Stewart wears colored contacts in the movies
Sure, it’s extremely noticeable in later movies when Bella has transformed into a vampire (spoiler alert!) and has nearly blood red eyes. But in this first film, Stewart simply appears to have big, deep brown doe-eyes. Only, Stewart has green eyes in real life.
In an interview with MTV, Pattinson confirmed that both he and Stewart had to wear contacts for their respective roles as Edward and Bella. “She’s like, ‘I wear contact lenses. Why do you always complain about yours?'” he said Stewart asked about the difference between her brown contacts and the amber-hued ones he had to wear as a Cullen. But, as he somewhat gleefully pointed out, she changed her tune once she had to swap her standard brown contacts for the vampire-eyes version. “When she finally wore them and then was complaining about them every second of the day,” Pattinson said, “it was kind of satisfying.”
Pattinson can really play the piano
Once Edward and Bella’s relationship starts to take off — quite literally, once they fly away from his house — he plays the piano for her. Admittedly, it’s enough to make anyone line up to get bitten. While most viewers probably assume this was this a trick of clever editing, Robert Pattinson revealed he’s a secret piano virtuoso. In an interview with MTV, the actor joked that he hadn’t played in a while and was impressed at his own ability to pick the song up in about 10 seconds… even if he “kind of approximated.”
Prior to the film version of the first book coming out, Stewart hinted at Pattinson’s secret talent, too. “Yes, it does exist in the movie,” she told MTV of the song Bella’s Lullaby. “And cutely enough, Rob is writing it on the piano as we speak.”
Edward is kind of a creeper
Is the scene where Edward shows up in Bella’s bedroom fraught with delightful sexual tension? Absolutely. But he also openly admits to sneaking into her room on multiple occasions and watching her sleep. Part of the reason for this behavior lies in the fact he can’t sleep and accordingly finds it fascinating. That is somewhat understandable. But, still. Doesn’t confessing to such behavior kind of make Edward seem like a voyeur? The house has a front door for a reason, Edward.
The vampire baseball scene is rife with inconsistencies and questions
It’s not even the fact that the Cullen clan can practically smash the skin off a baseball. Or the fact they can jump into another stratosphere to catch a fly ball. Those things can be overlooked for the sake of mysticism. There are more pressing quizzical matters to pursue.
For example, when Edward and Bella arrive at the baseball game, they are driving the Jeep Wrangler and not Edward’s car, a Volvo C30. Are they both family cars? What’s with the switch? If Edward drove the Jeep, what did the rest of the family drive? Also, when Edward and Bella arrive, said Jeep is super muddy. However, when the evil vampires crash the game and the couple must flee, the Jeep is magically clean again.
And, finally, why is Emmett wearing a purple velour tracksuit to play baseball? So many questions.
Stephenie Meyer makes a cameo
During one of Bella’s mealtime meet-ups with her dad at the cafe, there is a woman sitting at the counter. She is working on a laptop and drinking coffee. At the time this first film hit theaters, author Stephenie Meyer wasn’t a household name — so it was easy to overlook that the cafe writer was, in fact, Twilight‘s author. “It was a little Hitchcock moment, which I love,” Kellan Lutz, who plays Emmett in the film, told MTV. “I love his movies, where he throws himself in there as a small little speck. [Meyer] did a great job, and I’m sure it’s going to be cool for her to see herself in the movie.”