Tag: Stephenie Meyer

'Twilight' Cast: Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson

Catherine Hardwicke Wanted Diversity in ‘Twilight.’ Stephenie Meyer Didn’t.

A lack of diversity is hardly the main criticism levelled against Twilight, a controversial yet highly popular vampire franchise of the mid-2000s. Allegations of relationship abuse and sexism are far more prominent—and, if sexism weren’t prevalent in the novel, it certainly pervaded the series’ filming. Right before filming, execs famously told director Catherine Hardwicke that she needed to cut $15 million from the budget, or they would pull the plug despite the overwhelming international success of the source material. She was hopeful that, once Summit saw the number of stunts and set pieces she would have to remove, the studio would understand that these cuts were impossible. Instead, they told her, “great.”

The film that “would be interesting, at most, to 400 girls in Salt Lake City” grossed $393 million.

Evidently, Summit considered Twilight low-priority because of its predominantly female audience, a somewhat baffling outlook, given that the novels have sold over 100 million copies. But the studio seemed to downplay the interests and investments of women—especially Catherine Hardwicke.

 

 

In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, Hardwicke revealed that she wanted the film to feature a more diverse cast. In her imagination, all the vampires had different skin tones; Alice, in particular, Hardwicke imagined as Japanese. Meyer disagreed. “She could not accept the Cullens to be more diverse,” Hardwicke imagined, “because she had really seen them in her mind, she knew who each character was representing in a way, a personal friend or a relative or something. She said, ‘I wrote that they had this pale, glistening skin!'”

 

 

Image result for glittery edward gif

Gif Via Tenor

 

(Does naturally glistening skin mean the Cullens are always sweaty? Where are our answers, Steph???)

Hardwicke was able to convince Meyer that Laurent, one of the antagonists, could be a person of color. In the novels, Meyer described his skin as “olive” in complexion, which gave Hardwicke some leeway in the casting. Eventually, Meyer became open to the idea of Bella’s high school friends being more diverse, hence Christian Serrantos and Justin Chon’s casting. But the vampires were off-limits.

Many feel that Twilight isn’t a film—or a story—in which diversity is an issue, largely because of the large Native American presence in the story. (Although it’s worth noting that Taylor Lautner’s claims of ‘very distant’ Native heritage are dubious at best… and, supposedly, were conveniently discovered only after his casting.) Casual fans and trained academics have pointed out the racism in Meyer’s portrayal of the Quileute: specifically, that Meyer relies heavily on stereotypes in their depiction. Characters fit into ‘noble savage,’ ‘bloodthirsty warrior,’ and ‘stoic elder’ archetypes. By associating a Native American tribe with werewolves, creatures associated primarily with violence and aggression, the narrative presents negative stereotypes. While anyone can become a vampire, only Quileutes can be werewolves, inherently associating this trait with racial & ethnic characteristics. The gulf between werewolves and vampires deepens: these white vampires develop supernatural abilities which make them more individual. When Quileutes become werewolves, their individuality ceases. They share a pack ‘hive mind’ and get matching tribal tattoos, reducing them to a homogenous group as is the case with racial stereotyping.

 

 

Shirtless Jacob Black, displaying Quileute werewolf tattoo

Image Via Business Insider

 

It’s also worth noting that the film conspicuously sexualizes the Quileute werewolves—to the point that even Edward asks, “doesn’t he own a shirt?” Then there’s the matter of the tattoo: while the Quileute people don’t have a ‘werewolf tattoo,’ the tribe reports that they were not consulted regarding the use of tribal imagery. Since the film’s release, many a horny white girl has gotten Jacob’s tattoo in a classic example of cultural appropriation. No, the Quileute people are not werewolves. But the tribe itself is very real—as have been the consequences of Meyer’s writing.

In associating her werewolf mythology with a real tribe, Meyer put the Quileute people in the compromising position of having their land and traditions disrespected by Twilight fans. In 2010, an MSN film crew disrupted the graves of Quileute elders while filming without permission on the reservation. When filming in Forks, WA, of course, the crew had the decency to ask the Chamber of Commerce. The Quileute Nation also says that they were never consulted for merchandising rights of their cultural artefacts and have seen little profit from the souvenir shops selling Quileute-inspired goods.

No one is saying that you can’t enjoy Twilight. But perhaps you shouldn’t without at least being aware of the racial bias within the narrative and the broader consequences of Meyer’s imaginings.

 

 

Featured Image Via The Quiz.

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9 Famous Authors on Finding Their Writer’s Craft

Inspirations kick in when we’re least expecting them. When it comes to famous authors who have made onto shelves, charts and even the world’s wealthiest writers’ list, have you ever wondered what gave them that much-needed kick to begin  crafting their unforgettable stories? 

 

1. J.K. Rowling

 

Via Stylist Magazine

Via Stylist Magazine

 

“In 1990, my then-boyfriend and I decided to get a flat and move to Manchester together. We would flat hunt every once in awhile. One weekend after flat hunting, I took the train back to London on my own, and the idea for Harry Potter fell into my head,” Rowling told Urbanette magazine in an interview. “Coincidentally, I didn’t have a pen and was too shy to ask anyone for one on the train, which frustrated me at the time, but when I look back it was the best thing for me. It gave me the full four hours on the train to think up all the ideas for the book.”

 

“A scrawny, little black haired, bespectacled boy became more and more of a wizard to me. He became more real,” she continued, “I think if I might have slowed down on the ideas and began to write them down. I would’ve stifled some of those ideas. I began to write ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ that very evening. Although, the first couple of pages look nothing like the finished product.”

 

2. Stephen King

 

Via BookBub Blog

Via Bookbub Blog

 

“For me, on a cold fall day in 1959 or 1960, the attic over my uncle and aunt’s garage was the place where that interior dowsing rod suddenly turned over, where the compass needle swung emphatically toward some mental true north. That was the day I happened to come upon a box of my father’s books… paperbacks from the mid-1940s.”

 

3. Stephenie Meyer

 

Via the Verge

Via the Verge

 

As Stephenie Meyer writes on her website: “It all started on June 2, 2003… I woke up from a very vivid dream. In my dream, two people were having an intense conversation in a meadow in the woods. One of these people was just your average girl. The other person was fantastically beautiful, sparkly, and a vampire…. I didn’t want to lose the dream, so I typed out as much as I could remember, calling the characters ‘he’ and ‘she.’’

 

3. Paula Hawkins

 

Paula Hawkins

Image courtesy of David Levene | the Guardian

 

Before her debut novel, Hawkins worked as a financial journalist. In order to complete “The Girl on the Train”, she had to ask for money from her family. “If this didn’t work, I was either going to have to go back to being a journalist or come up with something completely new to do. It was the last chance,” she informed the Guardian.

 

4. Toni Morrison

 

Via Gawker Review of Books

Via Gawker Review of Books

 

When Morrison had joined an amateur writer’s group during her earlier years,  she was unaware that each member had to produce prose of some kind on a regular basis. “I was home and I was thinking, ‘What am I going to write and what do I know?’” she recounted in a 2016 speech. “And then I remembered an incident from my childhood that I remembered very carefully and what it meant, not just what happened, but what it meant. And then I began to write, and it became “The Bluest Eye”.”

 

5. James Patterson

 

Via Masterclass

Via Masterclass

 

“I worked my way through college. I had a lot of night shifts, so I started reading like crazy. Then I started writing. And I found that I loved it. When I was 26, I wrote my first mystery, “The Thomas Berryman Number”, and it was turned down by, I don’t know, 31 publishers. Then it won an Edgar for Best First Novel. Go figure.”

 

6. John Grisham

 

John Grisham

Via CNN

 

Before writing “A Time to Kill”, an inspiration spark hit Grisham when he observed a case during which a 12-year-old girl had to supply evidence for her rape. As he watched her father, he wondered how the event would unravel if he was in their shoes and how the legal system would respond. “The story was also autobiographical in that it was about a trial in a small Mississippi town where this young lawyer gets a big verdict. That was pretty much my dream at the time. My ambitions were still legal, not literary.” He said to the Guardian.

 

7. E.L. James

 

Via Google Play

Via Google Play

 

The author of “Fifty Shades of Grey”, E.L. James, began accumulating valuable experience when she started to write Twilight fanfiction under the name of Snowqueen’s Icedragon.

 

8. David Foster Wallace

 

Via the Huffington Post

Via the Huffington Post

 

When Wallace’s college girlfriend expressed that she’d rather live in a fictional kingdom and become a book character than live in reality, an idea struck him. He continued further exploration on this sudden moment of inspiration and then managed to publish his first novel, “The Broom of the System”.

 

9. Suzanne Collins

 

Via Famous Authors

Via Famous Authors

 

“One night, I was lying in bed, and I was channel surfing between reality TV programs and actual war coverage. On one channel, there’s a group of young people competing for I don’t even know; and on the next, there’s a group of young people fighting in an actual war. I was really tired, and the lines between these stories started to blur in a very unsettling way. That’s the moment when Katniss’s story came to me,” Collins said in an interview.

 

Feature image courtesy of Stylist Magazine, the Guardian and CNN.

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Cast of Twilight and Cast of Hunger Games

The Hunger Games and Twilight Aren’t Over

Lionsgate, the film production company behind billion dollar franchises ‘Twilight’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ have said that they are interested in taking both stories further.

 

The Twilight Saga raked in $3.344 billion over its five movies, while The Hunger Games grossed $2.968 billion. 

 

 

Bella and Edward in Twilight

Image Courtesy of Freeform

 

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said:

 

“There are a lot more stories to be told, and we’re ready to tell them when our creators are ready to tell those stories.”

 

He went on to say that the studio would only proceed with plans for more installments with the permission of ‘Twilight’ author Stephenie Meyer and ‘The Hunger Games’ author Suzanne Collins.  

 

 

Featured Image Courtesy of The Emory Wheel and CinemaBlend