A deep dive into the iconic baseball scene from ‘Twilight’ with the cast and crew, 12 years later11/21/2020
- "Twilight," released on November 21, 2008, was based on a novel written by Stephenie Meyer.
- In honor of the movie's 12th anniversary, director Catherine Hardwicke and star Nikki Reed (Rosalie Hale) spoke to Insider about how the movie's iconic, frequently-referenced vampire baseball scene came together.
- They also discussed the "timeless" appeal of "Twilight" and shared their thoughts on why the movie has had a resurgence in popularity recently.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
When the big-screen adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's fantasy novel "Twilight" hit theaters on November 21, 2008, no one could have predicted the magnitude of the movie's global popularity — or the enduring prominence of its vampire baseball scene in pop culture.
In honor of the film's 12th anniversary, Insider spoke with director Catherine Hardwicke and star Nikki Reed (Rosalie Hale) to break down the making of the often-referenced baseball scene, the resurgence of the movie's popularity, and the timeless appeal of "Twilight."
'Since when do vampires like baseball?'
That's the question that human Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) asked vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) after he picked her up to spend an overcast day with his family.
In response, Edward told her that "there's a thunderstorm coming. It's the only time we can play. You'll see why."
In the moments that followed, fans were treated to a baseball sequence, skillfully edited and perfectly set to Muse's "Supermassive Black Hole."
A contrast to the Cullen family's usual brooding and deliberate effort to act normal, the baseball scene was a tonal shift from the rest of the movie. It showed the vampires at their most relaxed and carefree state as they took advantage of their enhanced abilities to play the game before the nomadic vampires intruded.
Although the baseball sequence was only two minutes long, it's become a fan-favorite scene from the movie — and perhaps even the whole "Twilight" saga.
Filming took place in Portland, Oregon during the winter
The scene was filmed near the picturesque Columbia River Gorge with the Multnomah Falls closeby.
"I did think it was about the craziest thing to do, to get to make a vampire baseball sequence," Hardwicke told Insider. "So I was like, 'We've just got to make this as amazing as we can.'"
"It was a stunning location, so you're already inspired," Hardwicke added.
"I remember it being really cold," Reed said, recalling that she and some of her other castmates traveled via a "tiny puddle jumper airplane from LA to Portland."
"It was super chilly and we became this little family very quickly," she said.
Despite the beautiful setting, the weather posed several logistical obstacles — from inconsistent cloud cover to rain. What was supposed to be a four-or-so-day shoot turned into a week and a half on location.
"We were filming in the winter because that's when you have the most overcast," Hardwicke explained. "We couldn't have bright sun because then the vampires would have to sparkle. We didn't want them to be sparkling all the time, we couldn't afford that. CGI sparkling cost a lot of money."
"The weather did not cooperate," the director said. "And you can't have pouring rain [because of] all the makeup drips; the hair. They just don't look like the cool vampires in the pouring rain."
Hardwicke also said that the cast and crew "were freezing out there and since it was this beautiful 360-view of this open field and everything, you couldn't have bathrooms or anything really close."
This resulted in a time-consuming cycle of people drinking hot tea to stay warm, going to the bathroom, and then finally circling back to the field to film.
"We were just scrambling," Hardwicke said, recalling that the cast would shoot other scenes in nearby areas when the weather prevented them from filming the baseball sequence.
Challenges aside, Reed said that making "Twilight" had its own unique charm since it was the only movie in the saga that was filmed in Portland.
"Portland had a kind of magic to it that we could never really recreate," she said. "There was just something really special about it that I can't describe."
Before stepping out on the field, the stars bonded during baseball training sessions
Based on its popularity among fans, the cast and crew knew from the book's blog forums that they had to include the sequence, to which Meyer dedicated a whole chapter.
So the actors spent a significant amount of time rehearsing, taking lessons at an indoor sports arena, and working with a baseball consultant.
Hardwicke said that the stars had varying degrees of familiarity with the game. Jackson Rathbone, who played Jasper Hale in the series, "didn't need any training" because he already had prior experience playing baseball. But for British actor Pattinson, it was all new to him.
"That was a really good bonding experience for all the vampires," the director told us.
Reed described the baseball sequence as a "choreographed dance" and recalled taking a "cat movement class so that we could move our bodies in a way that felt cat-like."
"Every director had a different approach to how we should hold ourselves, carry ourselves, and that was Catherine's approach, which was really cool and interesting," the actress said.
Each member of the Cullen family wore attire that was suited to their personal style
Emmett (Kellan Lutz) wore a sporty velour jumpsuit, Jasper donned a classic raglan shirt, and others wore traditional baseball jerseys.
With costume designer Wendy Chuck and the stars, Hardwicke initially considered outfits that were more space-like, such as puffy silver jackets. Still, they decided to lean into more retro looks, which were stylish and comfortable to wear.
"Catherine has a very kind of youthful spirit and energy, and so we were all dressed in a very hip, youthful way," Reed said.
"I look back now and I think like, 'Oh man, I've kind of grown into myself in so many ways that I feel like if I had played Rosalie now I would have been able to contribute so much more to those areas,'" Reed, who played the character in all five "Twilight" movies, told Insider.
"I was only 19 years old when we started shooting those films, and so I think that I just didn't even have the kind of awareness that I have now," the actress added.
Reed also told Insider that the only piece of memorabilia she has from the "Twilight" saga is from the iconic baseball scene. She scored her baseball shoes, and it was all thanks to Stewart.
"That's because Kristen, who's a dear buddy, took them for me because I just could never take anything from the set because I'm such a rule follower," she told us.
"One day she came back from filming… reshoots or something," Reed recalled, "and she gave me those shoes from the baseball scene. I was like, 'Oh man, this is the best thing ever!' And I still have them."
"I remember Kristen being like, 'This is not a big deal. You can just have your shoes,'" the actress added.
The stars came up with plenty of their characters' lines or actions
Hardwicke worked with cinematographer Elliot Davis, stunt coordinator Andy Chang, and editor Nancy Richardson to bring the scene to life in a way that was just as exciting as what Meyer described in her book.
Technical aspects of the scene were done by the crew, but the actors had the freedom to bring their suggestions to the screen — many of which made the final cut.
Emmett's hype-up motion with his arms before starting the game was Lutz's idea, Rathbone incorporated his own baseball experience into Jasper's effortlessly cool bat twirls, and Peter Facinelli suggested his own character, Carlisle, point his bat as a nod to Babe Ruth.
Alice's graceful pitching, one of the highlights of the sequence, took some time for Ashley Greene to nail.
"Ashley, she had to look like she was a damn good pitcher, and that's not that easy," Hardwicke said of the actress. "I think she was there watching and just trying to get it, and finally her stunt double went out and pitched in a way [that] it just clicked. She was like, 'I get it. That's where I need the weight, the arms.'"
In order for Edward to speed across the field and through the woods to get the ball Rosalie hit at the start of the game, Pattinson had to be attached to wires that would pull him.
"Once we got the whole setup set, all the rigging out there on the location, then he had to just practice because he's really running, but he's getting an assist to speed up," Hardwicke explained. "And that's a bit awkward because you have to take a little while to get used to how that feels."
"I remember the first time, it looked so hilarious," she recalled. "And then he started doing it a few more times and got good at it."
Reed also recalled having "a super bruised butt for a long time" after executing Rosalie's slide into home base.
"We had to strap pads to all of our butts and shins and everything," she told us. "But I really commit to stuff like that. I've never been afraid of getting really physical and so I think I just did some really gnarly dives."
And Carlisle's "nice kitty" comment to Rosalie after her intense staredown with Bella, who called her out, was Facinelli's idea.
Emmett and Edward's mid-air clash was a slight departure for the book, which had Carlisle and Jasper colliding on the field. Hardwicke told us that she wanted to play off "the rivalry between the two teams."
Plus, she thought it would be more exciting to see the "alpha" siblings face-off.
To perform the clash, the actors were attached to wires on a rig. Then stunt doubles did the same action with the most impact. The flash of lightning at the exact moment of contact was achieved using VFX.
Hardwicke initially thought it would be fun to have one of the female vampires scale the tree to retrieve the baseball, but chose Lutz instead because he was an "all-around athlete."
The line that ensued from Rosalie, calling Emmett her "monkey man," was the work of Hardwicke and Reed, who brainstormed a few different remarks before settling on that one.
The Cullens' merriment came to an end after they unintentionally attracted the attention of three vampires named Laurent (Edi Gathegi), Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre), and James (Cam Gigandet), who had been responsible for a series of murders in Forks.
To film their arrival on the field, the actors walked on a "magic carpet," similar to moving walkways in airports, made of thick plexiglass that could be erased in post-production. The end result made them appear as though they were gliding.
Muse's 'Supermassive Black Hole' ties the whole sequence together
It's hard to imagine any other track being suitable for the baseball scene. Hardwicke told Insider that they "did not ever have another song because we knew how much Stephenie loved Muse."
Meyer, a long-time fan, previously said that the British rock band inspired her writing. So naturally, the film adaptation had to feature at least one Muse track.
Hardwicke told Insider that she actually wanted to get the band on board to do the score for the whole "Twilight" movie.
"I thought it would be cool to use their songs and then they could write the score in between, but they were so busy touring Europe that we couldn't get them," Hardwicke said. "But we were like, we know we can afford at least one song and it's gotta count."
Hardwicke went with the band's track from their 2006 album, "Black Holes and Revelations," written by frontman Matt Bellamy.
Carter Burwell ultimately composed the score for "Twilight" and the soundtrack included a plethora of established bands such as Paramore and Linkin Park. Pattinson also contributed music to the movie.
Still, Muse went on to be featured on the soundtracks for the "Twilight" sequels, "New Moon" and "Eclipse," with their songs "I Belong to You" and "Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)," respectively.
"Catherine has a really unique connection to her music choices and it's always very specific," Reed told us. "Whether you're talking about 'Lords of Dogtown' and 'Thirteen' or any of the films that Catherine has made, I think the music is always a real talking point."
"So obviously she hit it out of the park, pun intended."
No one could have predicted the massive popularity of 'Twilight' at the onset, not even the stars
Pattinson himself previously said he was under the impression "Twilight" would be an indie "Lost Boys"-type film, especially since it was helmed by Hardwicke, who had directed gritty films such as "Thirteen," and starred Stewart, a then-rising actress, who was making waves with performances in thrillers and dramas, including "Panic Room," "Cold Creek Manor," and "Speak."
But "Twilight" became a cultural sensation upon its release, as fans — known as Twihards — around the world waited at events for hours to catch a glimpse of the stars, attended midnight screenings while decked out in movie merchandise, and desperately tried to get their hands on the exact lilac bedsheets (sold at Target) that Bella had in her bedroom.
Reed vividly remembers the moment when she realized the enormity of the movie.
"We knew we were making something cool, but we didn't really know the extent of it until well after we finished filming," the actress recalled. "The moment we realized it was [San Diego] Comic-Con. I remember sitting at home because for the first film, I think only Rob and Kristen were asked to go to Comic-Con and not the whole cast yet."
"And at the time we thought we were just making this relatively small-ish movie," she continued. "It definitely wasn't this blockbuster cultural phenomenon. It was a cool little vampire movie. And then something wild happened."
Reed recalled sitting at home watching the news when she saw "lines of cars and people on the streets, just screaming when they saw Rob get out of his car to walk into the Comic-Con hotel."
"I remember being like, 'Oh my God, it's crazy. It's like he's famous or something," Reed added, laughing at the memory.
Reed said that San Diego Comic-Con, which is arguably the biggest and most well-known convention, felt like a turning point and made potential sequels possible.
"Everybody who makes something that's part of a book series or a trilogy or something, you're always like, 'Hmm, we'd like to make the other ones, but who knows if we will,'" the actress said, noting that the movie's production costs — a relatively modest $37 million — wasn't the kind of budget that reflected a soon-to-be box-office smash.
She continued: "And then I think we realized, 'Wow, we're definitely gonna make another one and maybe even two or three more things."
Now, more than ever, people are feeling nostalgic and turning to 'Twilight'
It's been 12 years since the first film was released and eight years since "Breaking Dawn: Part 2" hit theaters, but people are still rewatching the movies on cable or on streamers such as Amazon Prime Video.
Fans have also taken to social media in recent months to praise the baseball scene in particular.
"We don't talk enough about the impact the baseball scene from 'Twilight' has had on cinema," one person tweeted.
"The 'Twilight' baseball scene gives me serotonin," another wrote.
Reed and Hardwicke have similar theories on why the movie's popularity is so enduring.
"There's definitely something about these films that feel very timeless," Reed told us, adding that themes such as love and immortality have been a source of fascination for ages.
"When 'Twilight' came out, it was all about the movie theater experience and there was something very special about that, but I think that there's also something really special about taking something that you love and having it in your home," she added.
And particularly in 2020, a year defined by a pandemic and unrest, it's comforting to watch a movie that was a formative part of your life and spawns fond memories.
"I think it's definitely nostalgia because people can remember what they were doing, how everybody went to the opening night and all that, how you dressed up, and how much we fell in love with Edward or Jacob," Hardwicke said.
"But I think also the fact that it's just so romantic."
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