Ten years ago, the Comic-Con crowds met the little-known cast of a little-known vampire movie.
Albert L. Ortega/WireImage
Published July 20, 2018
Published 25 days ago
Ten years ago, in July 2008, the messy-haired cast members of a scrappy vampire movie called "Twilight" were first introduced to screaming fans at the San Diego Convention Center during Comic-Con. Teenagers everywhere were already obsessed with the "Twilight" world: Author Stephenie Meyer's original YA novel was published in 2005 and quickly became a best-selling phenomenon, spawning two subsequent sequels — "New Moon" and "Eclipse" — with a fourth, "Breaking Dawn," on the way that August. The movie version of the first book was set to hit theaters in November, so it was time to get the rest of the world hip to the swooning romance between a suave, saintly vampire named Edward and a naive teenager named Bella. Here, just in time for this year's Comic-Con, a look back at the "Twilight" tsunami as it hit Comic-Con 2008. (Above: "Twilight" cast members Edi Gathegi, Cam Gigandet, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, and Rachelle Lefevre on July 24, 2008.)
Albert L. Ortega/WireImageHE'S SURPRISED, TOONot that many people knew who British actor Robert Pattinson ("Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire") was when he was cast as the impossibly beautiful vampire who sparkled in the sun. By the time Comic-Con rolled around though, the mere mention of his first name inspired shrieks from the audience at the movie's panel on July 24. "It just baffles me," he said, nervously drinking water and tousling his hair. The AP reported that hundreds of teens had camped out overnight to get a seat in the panel on July 24, where the cast spoke and some footage was shown.
Albert L. Ortega/WireImageBELLA VITAKristen Stewart, then 18, was probably the best known of the "Twilight" cast, having been a child actress in such movies as "The Safety of Objects" and "Panic Room." But she wasn't ready for the rapturous response from the crowd. "As you can see, we're a little nervous," she said at the panel, before talking about what inspired her to take the role of Bella. "It was the ideal version of love, and for a lame, sort of sappy, sensitive girl that's sort of what life is about." The audience audibly awww'd.
Albert L. Ortega/WireImageMEET JACOB BLACKTaylor Lautner was only 16 years old when he was introduced at the panel as Bella's "family friend" Jacob Black, a Quileute tribe member who would go on to discover his own supernatural abilities as the series progressed. In subsequent films, Lautner would have to get ludicrously ripped to play an Alpha werewolf and a rival for Bella's affections. But for now, Lautner only had to confess to puppy love. "Deep down, [Jacob] has a pretty big crush on Bella," he said as the audience screamed its approval.Albert L. Ortega/WireImageVILLAINOUS TRIORachelle Lefevre, Edi Gathegi, and Cam Gigandet played vampires Victoria, Laurent, and James, respectively. Only Lefevre and Gathegi would appear in future films — Gathegi's character is quickly dispatched in "New Moon" and Lefevre would be replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard for "Eclipse." But they seemed to be having fun at Comic-Con. "We were evil and got to terrorize Bella and Edward," said Lefevre. "And we had a really good time doing it."
Albert L. Ortega/WireImageWRITER AND DIRECTORStephenie Meyer and director Catherine Hardwicke at the fan signing. Hardwicke knew what the crowd was there to hear about: "I was so taken with the whole romance of it...the Romeo and Juliet, two people falling in love from different worlds who shouldn't be together, but their love was so strong that they overcame all that to be together," she said during the panel.Albert L. Ortega/WireImageBABY FACEDespite being the youngest actor there, Lautner came across as far more relaxed than Pattinson or Stewart. And he remembered to butter up the crowd — and the author. "Listen, you guys are our inspiration," he said during the panel. "The fans behind this are the driving force." Then he looked to Meyer: "I know we're looking forward to bringing your book to life."Albert L. Ortega/WireImageON-SET ROMANCEIt's unclear when Pattinson and Stewart began dating but Hardwicke would later say she warned Pattinson off during filming. "After I cast him, I told Rob, 'Don't even think about having a romance with her,' " Hardwicke told Time. The pair eventually did start dating, though they broke up in 2013.
Albert L. Ortega/WireImageAUTHOR APPEARANCEStephenie Meyer was very supportive of the "Twilight" movies. "There is that pressure, of course. Because all of you screaming people want to see the right movie," she said. She was always a big booster of the cast, too, though years later in 2015, she'd reveal that Pattinson in particular was pretty intense about his character, once arguing with her for almost an hour that Edward must be "suicidally depressed." Needless to say, the films went in another direction.