Exclusive: Emily Browning Says She Auditioned For 'Hunger Games,' Declined 'Twilight' Part Of Bella

by Edward Davis
March 21, 2011 4:15 AM
20 Comments
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'Sucker Punch' Actress Said She Considered Quitting Acting, Which Was Part Of The Reason She Decided Not To Audition For Bella



How did 22-year-old Emily Browning go from the one of the kids in "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" in 2004 only take only two roles between 2005 and 2009 ("Stranded," "The Uninvited") before winding up in the lead of Zack Snyder's sci-fi steampunk fantasy action pic, "Sucker Punch," which hits theaters this weekend?

Well, aside from some luck, perhaps the actress was wanted because she herself didn't want Hollywood. Playlist contributor Leah Zak sat down with Browning this weekend to discuss "Sucker Punch," and the conversation eventually turned to the fact that Browning had considered quitting acting all together in the aforementioned period where she took few roles. In doing so, she also revealed -- though probably not much of a mystery to hardcore fans -- that "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer wanted her for the lead role that Kristen Stewart became famous from.

"I chose not to audition," Browning said about "Twilight" which was offered to her during this should-I or shouldn't-I period of career introspection. "The author at one point stated that I would be her ideal Bella, but I chose not to audition because I was at a point in my career where I wasn’t sure I wanted to work, I definitely didn’t want to sign onto a trilogy so I didn’t audition, but there were a lot of things people said: 'you turned it down' no that’s not the case, 'you were offered it and you turned it down,' no, no, no, that’s not what happened at all. And there were battles but it was really just as simple as I don’t want to work right now so..."

Browning credits Zack Snyder and "Sucker Punch" for requenching her thirst for acting and cementing her career path in movies. "At one point I was very hesitant about acting," she said "But actually ['Sucker Punch'], to be honest with you, is the one that’s brought me back and made me realize, 'this is absolutely what I want to do!' I have faith in this industry, if a movie making experience can be this positive and this much fun, then I can’t imagine ever doing anything else."

The industry can't imagine her doing anything else either, and apart from "Twilight," she admits those behind the "The Hunger Games" franchise were after her as well.

"I read for ['Hunger Games'] a couple of times, but I’ve never read the book to be honest -- which I know is terrible of me," she said, confirming reports she was in the mix. "I was nervous about it."

Considering all the internal fuss that was made about Browning "turning down" Bella, the actress said she was reluctant to discuss her potential involvement in 'Hunger Games' and how it could be misconceived as her shunning another popular teen franchise. "It’s always hard for me to talk about these kinds of things because I know there was a big deal with 'Twilight' and my involvement with people wanting me to do 'Twilight,' so I’m always like, 'Oh, people love this book so much I don’t want to get involved, I don’t want to talk about it!' but no, I read for ['Hunger Games'] a couple of times, but I think every single girl in Hollywood read for it a couple of times to be honest."

Regardless of boarding a franchise or not, she's still getting plenty of offers and making key short lists for coveted roles -- like "Snow White And The Huntsman" (which ironically, went to Kristen Stewart) -- so the young actress will surely have a long and fruitful career in Hollywood to look forward to. "Sucker Punch" hits theaters Friday, March 25 in wide release. -- Reporting by Leah Zak

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20 Comments

  • Yeti | March 27, 2011 6:04 AMReply

    Everyone ranting and raving about Twilight... It's bordering on mob mentality. The Twilight movies had their ups and downs... and from an unbiased point of view, the downs outweigh the ups.

    In my (probably negligible) opinion, they could have been a LOT better. The story was cliche', sure, but that's not always a bad thing. It was executed in a way that made it seem like a near-incomprehensible whine-fest. The only reason it was so damn popular is because of how easily the target audience (Tweens and teenage girls) latch onto drama in this modern age.

    Don't lynch me for saying, but I also don't think Kristen is truly "Hollywood Pretty". She's not bad, but... You can't even begin to compare her to the likes of Jessica Alba, Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, Milla Jovovich... She's just too... plain...

    Also, Rob shouldn't be playing "pretty" roles. He needs to put on some torn jeans, a dirty hoodie, and pretend to be the next John Leguizamo.

    (... Sorry John.)

    Emily Browning is truly blessed, in the fact that she didn't take on the Twilight franchise... K.Stew and R.Patt will forever be remembered as the monotonous Mary Sue and the self-destructive sparkle-vamp. Emily really doesn't deserve that sort of label.

    Now she can continue to build a diverse and rewarding career as a talented actress, in artistic films that showcase different reasons people love to watch her.

    Rock on, Emily.

  • Pete | March 22, 2011 7:26 AMReply

    Emily Browning is a beautiful and talented actress. However, she continues to miss out on the big career changing roles. Aside from Twilight, she was also on the short list for the coveted lead in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I don't know if she auditioned for it or not, but randomly she was cut from the list either by her choice or the producers choice. I felt that that was her chance to make her career a success. It is clear that the Twilight role was hers to lose. She actually said she was very exhausted after filming The Uninvited and didn't want to deal with the stress of an audition.

    And then the Snow White role and The Hunger games role. How many more roles will she miss out on? I hope she gets the big role and becomes a big star. I wish that she got the part in Twilight and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

  • Orion's Belt | March 22, 2011 6:32 AMReply

    Emily did good to not audition for Twilight. She may have gotten the role and then she'd be in KStew's shoes. Ugh. I like her too much to have her talent spoiled by that franchise. As long as she gets roles that she's happy with, that's all that matters. She doesn't need to do huge productions. Acting should be about more than getting big, famous roles. So that was smart of her to turn away from Twilight. She knew that she didn't want to do a series and she had doubts about her career.

    Kristen Stewart too pretty to play Bella? Did someone actually say that? Are they joking? She's not ugly, but she ain't nothing special to look at , either. She's too masculine for the role. I think Bella was supposed to be a soft-featured character. It does't matter since she's an annoying, bad heroine, anyway.

    Kristen didn't impress me as Joan Jett, either, and I thought she'd be great in that considering all of the praise. But she wasn't.
    She didn't capture Joan, only her look. And what's Jett gonna say? She did okay? I didn't like it? Of course not! She's one of the producers of that film! She hung out with KStew and helped her with the part. You don't bash someone when you're in that position.

  • Robin | March 22, 2011 3:05 AMReply

    I think Kristen is Amazing Bella . I could not see anyone else playing that part but Ms. Kristen. She is Amazing in Twilight & all of her movies

  • Leah | March 22, 2011 1:24 AMReply

    Let's please lay off the Stewart/Browning slander fest. Both are young actresses navigating the shifty waters of Hollywood and all the while landing some major leading roles -- pretty impressive on both their parts.

    There are other internet corners on which to place your soap box, please take the hate there or else play nicely.

  • janedoe | March 21, 2011 11:37 AMReply

    Twilight saved Scummit's azz. They were a tiny movie studio who was losing money until KS and RP came along and saved their azzes. KS and RP are loved and adored by millions and hated by a few. I doubt they care though as they count their millions.

  • katie | March 21, 2011 11:23 AMReply

    The fact that Emily has been passed over or second choice for many movies doesn't sound too good. Hopefully this Sucker Punch movie could help her a bit. But if she's not impressing many producers/directors in auditions certainly means something.

  • to Anonn | March 21, 2011 11:19 AMReply

    Well the fact that Kristen didn't play Bella as a whiny clingy girlfriend is exactly the reason why I even read the books in the first place. If anyone else who would play her as such would not even get any notice from me. Kristen made Bella more bearable to stronger girls. It's great that Emily has a fan now. Please follow her career and stop obsessing over Kristen's. Thanks.

  • rachellercks | March 21, 2011 11:13 AMReply

    "The movie industry as a whole would’ve benefitted if these movies and the emotionless, over hyped cast had never existed."...Ha! Tell that to Summit who's made well over a billion dollars so far on the 3 Twilight movies and expected to make another billion plus for the last 2 movies. And that doesn't even include all the Twilight merchandise. Ms. Stewart and Mr. Pattinson may not impress you but they've sure impressed quite a few people. Let's see how much ($$) Emily will impress. BTW, Kristen Stewart's portrayal of Joan Jett was a hit with critics but most importantly, Joan Jett herself.

  • Anonn | March 21, 2011 11:07 AMReply

    Kristen fails at making Bella "bad azz" no. 1 Bella was never that in the books, and she is not that in the movies. Instead she was made by Kristen to be quite moody, lacking emotions, and with a speech impediment that's her ideal Bella. But what's most bothersome is the acting, it's atrocious. Emily is an up and comer true, I look forward to her projects because she is kickass amazing and a role model to girls.

  • MikeMassacre | March 21, 2011 10:52 AMReply

    Where to start...
    SuckerPunch looks like it is gonna be a halfway decent movie. Not so much for it's blatant sexism but for it's artistic direction, which is sadly lacking now a days. (btw, welcome to America sweetheart. Sexism is as much a part of our society as racism and poverty. Get used to it.) As for Twilight, it's too bad she didn't audition. Hell, it's too bad her and Caville didn't get the parts. It might have made those movies watchable to more than just Tweens and ex High School cheerleaders that refuse to grow up. Kristen can't act. Plain and simple. I've seen her in the Twilight movies and "The Runaways" with Dakota Fanning among other movies and I'm constantly asserted that a wet noodle or a corpse has a wider range of emotion than Ms Stewart. And Rob Pattinson is no better. They both seem constantly bored in every film I've seen them in. The army of twelve year olds with Mom and Dads allowance money is the only reason those movies continue to be successful. Stephanie Meyer's books deserved a better translation, but the author herself sold out.
    The movie industry as a whole would've benefitted if these movies and the emotionless, over hyped cast had never existed. (Kristen is plain, Rob looks like a Meth addict. Get over it)

  • elisaj23 | March 21, 2011 8:04 AMReply

    Heard Emily wasn't even the first choice for this sexist movie. Amanda S. passed on it so they took Emily. I think Emily could do much better than this garbage though. It's just another male fantasy movies putting grown girls in school girl costumes and have them fight off sleazy perves. Eww, will pass this one up.

  • mvp | March 21, 2011 7:06 AMReply

    Emily Browning and Henry Cavill couldn't save the abysmal absurdity that is Twilight.

  • stephanie meyer | March 21, 2011 6:29 AMReply

    Stephanie Meyer has said Kristen Stewart was too pretty to play Bella but thank gawd she did. Bella was a whiny clinger who's obsessed with a vampire. Kristen made her strong and badazz and ready to kick him to the curb. It wouldn't be such a hit today if it weren't for Kristen and Rob. Let's see how Emily does with her Sucker Punch. Also, she couldn't have been such a great actress if she was passed over for The Hunger Games and Snow White. And there's no guarantee she would've made it as Bella either IF she had auditioned. And if she did land the role, Robsessed hags wouldn't have anyone to obsess over.

  • pj | March 21, 2011 6:25 AMReply

    Kristen wasn't second choice. This girl didn't even bother to audition. She was Stephenie Meyer's fantasy casting choice. Did Henry Cavill get the role of Edward? No because he was too old by the time the movies came to be. And nobody cares. Jodie Foster didn't call her a machine at all. Talk about twisting her words and taking it out of context.

    Emily Browning is an up and coming actress but it's too bad she keeps on losing out for movies like Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Snow White and the Huntsmen and Hunger Games.

  • slappy magoo | March 21, 2011 6:19 AMReply

    Wow.

    What a horribly written piece. Even by the low standards of celebrity puff pieces, that was horrible.

  • Asleep | March 21, 2011 5:59 AMReply

    Henry Cavill is Stephanie Meyer first Edward Cullen and now he will working with Zack Synder in new superman reboot..interesting how its went..

  • Laet1 | March 21, 2011 5:40 AMReply

    Kristen Stewart should send her a fruit basket and a thank you note. Because of Emily, Ms. Stewart was able to make a multi million dollar paycheck as well as take a role that catapulted her to stardom.

    It has to suck though that Ms. Stewart was always second choice. While Emily is obviously a far better actress with range not to mention looks, Bella was not supposed to be pretty, so the second choice fits in that a arena, but fails in the emotional one. Kristen has no emotional range, Jodie Foster called her a machine, one that doesn't exhibit her emotions easily, that's actually very bad for an actor.

  • Mark | March 21, 2011 5:31 AMReply

    She's probably quite happy to have escaped being involved with the cinematic abominations that are the 'Twilight' films.

  • kassy | March 21, 2011 4:46 AMReply

    Oh well too bad. She would've made a cute Bella but then there would probably be no RPattz either. Twilight would probably taken a different turn without the chemistry of Kristen and Rob. I wish Emily great success though and hope she makes great choices for her career. She's got a unique look in HW.

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