VENICE, California — An acclaimed indie filmmaker who hit the big time with last year's [movie id="369195"]"Twilight,"[/movie] Catherine Hardwicke takes pride in doing things differently than most directors. For years, she's held "chemistry reads" at her house, switching out various actors while making them feel at home. And, as is now the stuff of "Twilight" legend, 18 months ago she invited two young actors named [movieperson id="365131"]Robert Pattinson[/movieperson] and [movieperson id="262629"]Kristen Stewart[/movieperson] into her bedroom.
"This is the bed. That's where we had the first kiss between Rob and Kristen," Hardwicke beamed on Thursday when we visited her home just blocks from the beach, to celebrate such MTV Movie Awards moments as the Best Kiss nominee born on her own personal bed. "We did the audition — the chemistry read — here to see if these two would have chemistry. To see if their kiss would be exciting and cool.
"They came to my house — they had just met," Hardwicke remembered, inviting MTV News' Tim Kash to sit on the same edge of the bed where RPattz had made his move all those months before. "I said, 'I know you just met, but I need you to do this scene. We're gonna do it in my bedroom, on the bed — and you're really gonna kiss.'
"Kristen already had to kiss three other guys that day," Hardwicke smiled, addressing the Twilighters. "I know that's torturous, ladies."
Then it came time for the young actor they were referring to as "Bachelor Number Three." "She was kind of sleepy and just hanging out — and then Robert appeared in the room," Hardwicke remembered. "His hair was a little different — it was his Dalí hair, with the black bangs."
Although the finished product would be sexy enough for a Movie Awards nomination, Rob and Kristen's first smooch was anything but. "He was a bit nervous, because suddenly you've just met a girl and you're going to start making out with the person — and someone is filming," remembered Hardwicke, who was capturing test footage on film to show the studio. "[Pattinson] was really wild on the first take — use your imagination.
"I had to tell him, 'This is going to be a PG-13 movie!' and have him settle down a little bit," she laughed. "Afterwards, Kristen and I were looking at each other like, 'Whoa!'
"They had to do it three times," she remembered. "The first time, they went a little too far, and I was like, 'I can't show this to anybody at the studio!' After we finished the whole thing and we had met bachelors one, two, three and four, Kristen said, 'It has to be Rob.' She basically threatened me."
Not even two years later, Pattinson and Stewart have emerged as one of the great cinematic love stories for this generation. And on Sunday night, perhaps the MTV Movie Awards will write the final chapter on their iconic kiss. But more importantly: Where does the bed go from here? The Smithsonian? A tour for Twilighters?
"Well, I've been thinking about it," Hardwicke said of tours of her home. "But this is actually my bed. I have to sleep here every night!"
Will the vampires grab more trophies than the slumdog? What was the year's ultimate onscreen WTF moment? It's up to you to decide the winners of the 2009 MTV Movie Awards. Vote now, and tune in on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET, when the big show airs live from the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California.
For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.