Visions of ‘Twilight’

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The Korean version of ‘Twilight’ by Stephenie Meyer is strikingly different from its American counterpart. Instead of the black, red and white theme of our ‘Twilight’ series, the book’s cover is a soft white and gold. And the Korean edition for sale in my neighborhood, above, comes with a medallion adorned with the airy pastel sketches of Bella and Edward together.

And you might notice, they don’t look anything like Robert Pattinson or Kristen Stewart, stars of the recent film. Which happens to be on its way to stores; the DVD goes on sale later this week. If the film’s opening box office can foretell DVD sales, it’ll wind up in the homes of tween girls very, very quickly.

Is it significant that these young actors are now so visually identified with Edward and Bella? For three years, the two characters lived only in the imaginations of their readers and looked however readers imagined they looked. There was room for the wispy and pastel-y Korean ideal, or any other. Any girl who loved the Twilight series could picture herself in Bella’s shoes — and house and school and Edward’s arms — in Forks, Wash.

I’m always torn between the urge to see my favorite books brought to life on screen and the desire to let them stay safe in my imagination. The screen versions can be so powerful that they imprint the actors and scenes indelibly upon the original stories — just as the actors’ faces often end up on post-movie book covers. Will the international blond Bella, blue-eyed Bella and Japanese duo give way to Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart? Or will the imagination (and book cover designers) keep them alive?


— Carolyn Kellogg

Photo credit: Carolyn Kellogg