“Kristen was like, ‘It’s got to be Rob!’ She felt connected to him from the first moment. That electricity, or love at first sight, or whatever it is.” Hardwicke gave him the part, but he had to make a promise. “You’ve got to realize that Kristen is 17 years old,” she told him. “She’s underage. You’ve got to focus, dude, or you’re going to be arrested. I made him swear on a stack of Bibles.”
Despite Twilight’s $400 million global success, Hardwicke left the franchise when it came to the sequel. She said it was her decision, despite a blog report that she was fired. “I couldn’t even be fired, that’s what’s so funny,” she says. “In my contract, I had the first right of refusal.” She turned down the second film, she says, because the studio wanted to rush it out. “I do not regret it at all, thank the Lord,” she says. “The truth is I liked the first book the best.”
There is something of the vampire in Hardwicke herself. Just as Edward will never grew old, Hardwicke refuses to abandon the mischievous joys of youth. There’s nothing formal about the way she does business. She frequently invites her protégés over to audition or rehearse. Her home is “right on the beach,” says Shiloh Fernandez, who plays the hunky Peter in Red Riding Hood. “It’s like a loft for a young surfer guy.” It’s not Grandma’s house. But there is a bed. And she lures young actors onto it, though not in the traditional casting-couch way. When Hardwicke auditioned Evan Rachel Wood for Thirteen, she had her get into her bed with Nikki Reed. That’s also where Pattinson kissed Stewart for the first time in his Twilight screen test. “That bed made Pattinson who he is right now,” says Reed. Asked about her lair, Hardwicke laughs. “MTV came and did an episode in my house filming the bed. It’s legendary,” she says, flashing a wide—dare we say wolfish—grin.