In a new episode of The Big Hit Show podcast released on Wednesday (19 January), Hardwicke told host Alex Pappademas that Pattinson auditioned for the vampire franchise film after Stewart had been finalised to play lead Bella Swan.
The Spencer actor was 17 at the time, while Pattinson was 21 years old.
Hardwicke remembered that Pattinson did not look the part of Bella’s love interest – pristine, glistening vampire Edward Cullen – when he came in for the first audition in 2007.
“He walked in and he had his hair was dyed black for some play, with these wacky bangs. He was a bit out of shape,” she said, adding, “His shirt was just all messy, and I’m like, ‘Uh, OK. OK, let’s see how this goes.’”
However, the couple’s chemistry was evident when they acted out Swan and Cullen’s first kiss in Hardwicke’s Los Angeles home.
Red Riding Hood director Hardwicke continued: “Rob and Kristen auditioned on my bed, the kissing scene, Rob was so into it he fell off the bed. I’m like, ‘Dude, calm down.’ And I’m in there filming with my little video camera, whatever.”
After the audition, Stewart told Hardwicke that Cullen had to be played by The Batman actor, now 34.
“I could tell they had a lot of chemistry, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God.’ I thought, Kristen was 17. I don’t want to get in some illegal things,” Hardwicke told Pappademas, before warning Pattinson that Stewart was a minor.
“I told Rob, ‘By the way, Kristen is 17. In our country, it’s illegal to have a sexual… ‘ And he’s like, ‘Oh, OK, whatever,’” she continued.
Stewart and Pattinson began dating in 2009 but temporarily split in 2012 after it emerged that Stewart was having an affair with her Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders. They split for good in 2013 – Pattinson confirmed in a 2019 interview that they are on good terms with one another.