I read Twilight before I saw the film. I read Twilight before the movie cast was announced and the faces of actors replaced the fantasy versions of the Cullens I’d created for myself. And while it’s been easy for me to re-read Twilight and imagine certain actors in their roles – Kellan Lutz as Emmett, for example – I’ve never gone back to the novels and pictured Ashley Greene as Alice.
To be clear: Ashley Greene is stunning. Her portrayal of Alice was sweet and she made the best of the role she earned. But she isn’t who I imagined as Alice – not even close.
Why? I think it comes down to Alice’s aesthetic in the films.
Based on Stephenie’s description of Alice, I pictured her as an eccentric: her hair pointing in every direction, her clothing a fashionable mishmash of styles that only she could possibly pull off. Someone who, in real life, would belong with the artists, the musicians, the drama kids at school. Someone with small features, a combination of soft lines and hard angles: sharp cheekbones, large eyes, rounded nose.
In the film, Alice looked too coiffed to be the strange one, the frightening little monster. Every hair was in place, perfectly flipped and teased. Her style in the later films was almost matronly – too old for someone who was supposedly a high school fashion plate. Her style lacked expressive design. Yes, the Cullens possess a certain expertise when it comes to blending in – but despite that, the weird one, the little one, always manages to stand out.
When I’m portraying Alice, I take my cues from her film portrayal. That’s what everyone has the most visual reference for and what they expect to see. As a collective, Ashley Greene’s casting wiped our imaginations clean of whoever it was we pictured when we first read Twilight.
But for me, my perfect image of Alice is out there – and no, it isn’t me.
So, age and realism aside, who do I think embodies Alice’s aesthetic best?
To me, Winona Ryder – in a perfect world – would have been an amazing Alice Cullen. She’s tiny, striking, and looks fantastic with cropped hair. A real pixie cut, slightly unkempt. There’s an edginess to her that suggests the frightening little monster – that although she’s beautiful, she’s also different in a way that’s almost imperceptible.
Audrey Tautou is a slightly sweeter-looking Alice Cullen: Alice as the ingenue. Like Winona, she’s small and looks striking with short hair. She’s Alice as best friend, the vulnerable Alice who woke up alone after being changed. I can easily imagine her meeting Jasper at a diner in Philadelphia.
Rachael Leigh Cook
My third choice – although there’s no real order – was also who Stephenie Meyer imagined as Alice, so I guess I’m on the right track. And Rachael Leigh Cook might actually have played Alice if the films were made during a different time. She’s spunky Alice, pretty and playful. The Alice who would instigate an argument with Edward just to irritate him.
All of my picks for Alice look fairly similar, which says to me that I definitely have a type. But maybe your Alice looked different, and that’s completely okay, too. Who did you imagine as Alice? Or has it always been Ashley Greene for you?
Tell me in the comments!