'Twilight' star Elizabeth Reaser backs director Catherine Hardwicke over film's diversity (exclusive)

Hanna Flint
Contributor

Elizabeth Reaser agrees with Catherine Hardwicke about the lack of diversity in the Twilight franchise.

Hardwicke, who directed the first installment of the franchise, told the Daily Beast in an interview published Monday that she “wanted a lot more of the cast to be diverse.”

Reaser, who appeared as Esme Cullen in all five films, threw her support behind the director while discussing her new Netflix show The Haunting of Hill House.

“I absolutely agree,” Reaser said. “I think that probably goes for everything that’s being made. There should be absolutely diversity in every [film and] show.”

The Cullens meet Bella in Twlight (2008). Reaser played Esme Cullen in all five films

Hardwicke said she had to battle with the book series’ author, Stephenie Meyer, who had written the majority of her characters as being Caucasian and the Cullens as having “pale glistening skin.”

Meyer “had not really written it that way. So she probably just didn’t see the world that way,” Hardwicke said. “And I was like, oh my God, I want the vampires, I want them all — Alice, I wanted her to be Japanese! I had all these ideas. And she just could not accept the Cullens to be more diverse, 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.”

This forced Hardwicke to look for diversity in the supporting characters by hiring Mexican- and Italian-American actress Christian Serratos and Korean-American Justin Chon as Bella’s school friends Angela and Eric.

She also managed to cast Kenyan-American actor Edi Gathegi as Laurent because she argued that the book described the antagonistic vampire as having olive-skinned, which means that description could refer to the black olive variety.

Elizabeth Reaser discusses Twilight with The Haunting of Hill House co-star Oliver Jackson-Cohen

Twilight came out ten years ago and really launched Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in Hollywood but it also bolstered Reaser’s career too. She’s appeared in indie flicks Young Adult and Liberal Arts and several TV shows including The Good Wife, Manhunt: Unabomber and Law & Order True Crime.

Thanks to working with Mike Flanagan in Ouija: Origin of Evil, Reaser landed a role in his new Netflix series based on Shirley Jackson’s book of the same name The Haunting of Hill House.

In it, she plays Shirley Crain, one of five grown-up children who grew up in what would go on to become the most famous haunted house in the country.

“I hadn’t read the book or seen the film until I had started working on the series,” the actress says. “I read the scripts before I read the book which is obviously very different.

“I just fell in love with these characters and found this family really compelling and I wanted to see what was going to happen to them.”

The Haunting of Hill House season 1 is available on Netflix  from 12 October

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