Team Carlisle anyone? Peter Facinelli’s suave doctor and vampire was the patriarch of the Cullen family in the Twilight Saga. The actor played the character created by Stephenie Meyer to a tee, but his road to nabbing the role was not as clean cut as Carlisle appears on screen. Facinelli likes to joke he bought the role because of one unique gift he decided to send director Catherine Hardwicke at the right time.
Peter Facinelli was not initially interested in making a “vampire movie” when his agent called, but then he decided to crack open Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. While speaking on podcast On the List With Brett Gursky, he shared that he read the book in one night and jumped at auditioning for the role of Carlisle. At first, he didn’t get the role, as he shared:
I found out they made an offer to someone else and I was bummed. I was like, 'Man, I thought I was gonna get that one.’ But, they went with an actor who was like 10 years older, because they were worried that on screen it might look weird if I was too young… but that was part of what the book was – in the book he was actually 23.
Peter Facinelli was in his early 30s when Twilight was in production, but at first, it was decided to make Carlisle Cullen a bit older so he'd feel like more of a father figure. It was not book accurate, but the role was obviously meant for Facinelli. In his words:
I was at an audition and I saw this book and it said 50 Years of Vampire-Making In Hollywood… I had to track it down because it was out of print, but I sent her the book and I said, 'Hey, sorry it didn't work out. Hopefully, we'll work together on something else. Hope this inspires you to make a great vampire movie.’ And I sent it to her. Little did I know that the actor that fell out, on the same day that he fell out, she got my book. And so the producers were like he can't do it, either his deal fell through or maybe he got another job or something, and they said who do you want to go to next? And she was like, 'I don't know, what about Peter Facinelli?' So I always joke with Catherine that I bought that role for $29.99.
Now call that luck or destiny, but Peter Facinelli really earned his role on Twilight with that perfect gift for Catherine Hardwicke ahead of the making of the film. He’d been in a waiting room when the coffee table book caught his eye and reminded him of the role he’d lost. Of course, it’s possible he could have earned it without the $30 book, but as he explained, it really allowed him to set himself apart from the other actors up for Carlisle Cullen.
Carlisle Cullen is the nearly 400-year-old vampire who becomes the founder of the Olympic Coven consisting of Esme, Emmett, Alice, Edward, Jasper and Rosalie. Unlike most vampires, he works with human blood on a daily basis as a doctor and encourages his family to become “vegetarians.” The character is the voice of reason in the Cullen Clan and has a pivotal arc throughout the Twilight films.
Years later, Peter Facinelli is proud of his role in Twilight, sharing his interest in returning to the role following the release of Stephenie Meyer’s Midnight Sun book (yet, also acknowledging the age problem). He also recently did a cameo for a music video that recreated the iconic baseball scene.