He didn't find out until it was way too late.
Some starring turns in movies become timeless classics that make or break careers; Harry Potter, Iron Man, and Superman, to name a few. In most cases, writers and producers laud these casting choices, claiming it was their vision all along. But not Twilight author Stephenie Meyer. Although the role of Edward launched Robert Pattinson into the A-list, Meyer initially had a different actor in mind for the brooding vampire: Henry Cavill, who recently addressed the Twilight fan-casting in the most lighthearted way.
Like many writers, Meyer fan-cast her novel long before it became a movie. Most authors have a picture in their head of what their hero looks like, and it’s not unusual to daydream about one’s book someday getting a movie adaptation.
Twilight’s production happened in 2007, when Facebook was just getting off the ground, and Twitter didn’t exist yet. This was during the height of personal blogs, where authors regularly wrote posts to their fans about ongoing productions. When Twilight was originally optioned for film, Meyer posted about it, but her joy was bittersweet. She’d initially imagined landing a then-relatively-unknown British actor, best known for the TV movie Goodbye Mr. Chips and the feature films Tristan & Isolde and Red Riding Hood.
“Years have passed, my actors have aged, and I think the time has come to recast the Twilight movie. (For fun, of course! I still have no say in who gets hired),” she wrote to her fans. “The most disappointing thing for me is losing my perfect Edward. Henry Cavill is now 24 years old. Let us have a moment of quiet in which to mourn…”
But she had a backup plan: “ I’m not willing to relinquish Henry completely,” she declared and started imagining casting him in other open roles. “Since I hear that Charlie Hunnam refuses to consider scripts which include vampires, I propose that Henry play Carlisle!”
Cavill must not have been a Twihard back then, as he had no idea Meyer had fan-cast him back when he was still working to make it in Hollywood. When asked about it on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Cavill reminded his hosts, “the internet wasn’t quite the tool that it is now, and so I only found out afterwards. I was like, ‘Oh OK, that would have been cool.’”
Cavill noted he lost out on many roles that could have been his big break. “It’s funny that people think that’s a bad thing,” Cavill said. “In Hollywood — or in the acting industry — everyone’s trying to get a role, and they’re not necessarily getting them. And so, to get an opportunity to be in the limelight by missing out on the big roles is actually a good thing as opposed to a bad thing. And I count my lucky stars for each one of those.”
Cavill will next be seen in Enola Holmes 2, where he plays the most absolute unit version of Sherlock Holmes ever conceived alongside Millie Bobby Brown as the titular Enola. His final turn in The Witcher is expected in 2023.