Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson had intense chemistry when they first met during an audition for Twilight 10 years ago.
The film’s director, Catherine Hardwicke, tells PEOPLE Stewart, 28, was cast first as the story centered around the female lead Bella Swan who falls in love with a vampire, Edward Cullen.
Of the audition process, Hardwicke says when the two first met they “were both shy.”
“For me, it was really important to have a great chemistry [between Bella and Edward],” Hardwicke, 62, says. “[They] had to be the coolest couple that you just had to feel that electricity between them.”
The director says she had Stewart do chemistry reads with about four actors before Pattinson, 32, walked into Hardwicke’s home for the audition.
“It was funny because they were both pretty shy and kind of a little bit nervous and awkward,” Hardwicke says. “I said, ‘Okay, let’s go do the biology scene where you guys first meet.’ So we went to my kitchen table for that scene and you could see pretty quickly that they were vibing off of each other.”
“It was pretty positive. After the end of their audition, I could tell that there was a lot of electricity and chemistry,” she recalls.
There was so much chemistry that Hardwicke had to warn Pattinson away from Stewart at the time, she says.
“And I remember I told Rob, separately, I went, ‘Listen, man, you gotta remember that she’s under 18 and in our country, you can get in trouble!” she says, laughing. “He went, ‘Okay, okay, jeez, calm down!’”
Stewart was 17 in 2007, just one year before the film came out while Pattinson was 21.
The two dated famously dated after meeting on the set of Twilight and seemed to be going strong until photos emerged of her kissing her married Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders while she was dating Pattinson. The couple reconciled shortly after but ultimately called it quits in 2013.
The actor jokingly told Variety in September he was ready to revisit the character that launched him as an international star.
“I’ve literally talked to my agent about it. The amount of time I spend moisturizing — I am ready to play 17 at a moment’s notice. I’ve got the botox out,” Pattinson said while laughing.
“It definitely doesn’t feel like 10 years ago,” the actor admitted. “I feel like I stopped mentally progressing around the time I started doing those movies. It feels like not a day has passed.”