The Most Overqualified Performances In The 'Twilight' Saga

Voting Rules
Vote up the actors whose performances exceed what you expect from the 'Twilight' franchise.

When the books began to be adapted to the big screen, you just knew some actors too good for Twilight were going to show up at some point. It always happens. Jeremy Irons and John Malkovich are in EragonKate Winslet is in the Divergent movies, and Philip Seymour Hoffman is in the Hunger Games movies. Need some genuine acting clout to bolster the prestige of your YA movie adaptation? Get some overqualified actors in there!

This is why we look back on people like Michael Sheen, Bryce Dallas Howard, Lee Pace, and Anna Kendrick in the Twilight movies and just chuckle a bit. At least now-beloved actors Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart were given a lot to do in their starring roles. Numerous fantastic thespians were given little, and sometimes nothing, to do throughout the five films. Scroll on down and give a thumbs up to those who are, simply put, too good for the vampiric franchise.

Photo: Lionsgate / Lionsgate / Lionsgate

  • 1
    2,291 VOTES
    Michael Sheen
    Photo: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 / Lionsgate

    Ah, Michael Sheen. Classically trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Scene-stealer in everything from 30 Rock to Tron: Legacy. An Emmy and BAFTA award-nominated actor, Sheen not only was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II, but actually ended up giving it back. Sheen's lengthy list of film and television credits has turned him into a fan-favorite thespian. If he's involved, you know he's gonna put in some serious work.

    When the production team behind the Twilight series needed a big bad, they chose well when bringing Sheen on board. In fact, having him in the series at all kind of makes everyone else involved look a bit worse by comparison. That is how good he is at acting. The man acts circles around everyone in The Twilight Saga: New Moon because that's just how fantastic he is.

    2,291 votes
  • 2
    1,921 VOTES
    Gil Birmingham
    Photo: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 / Summit Entertainment

    Gil Birmingham is a character actor who has seemingly been around forever. He's got '90s staples like Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer on his resume to go with '00s staples like Veronica Mars and Nip/Tuck, too. Since making his acting debut in the mid-'80s, Birmingham has kind of always been there for people who were paying attention.

    Of course, his role as Billy Black in the Twilight Saga served as a coming-out party of sorts for the actor. His career can somewhat be divided into "pre-Twilight" and "post-Twilight." After the success of Twilight, Birmingham has appeared in beloved movies like Hell or High Water and Wind River, big-budget movies like The Lone Ranger and Transformers: The Last Knight, and successful television shows like Yellowstone and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Though he is almost 70 years old now, he shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

    1,921 votes
  • 3
    1,990 VOTES
    Rami Malek
    Photo: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 / Lionsgate

    To be fair, Rami Malek's role as Benjamin in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 was years before projects like Mr. RobotBohemian Rhapsody, and No Time to Die came along and changed his career. If offered the same part today, there is no chance Malek would take it. He simply wouldn't. Of course, even at the time, it seemed like Malek's talent outweighed the importance of his role.

    Though the man was little more than a character actor back then, everyone with eyes could see his outrageous acting ability. Whether he was scene-stealing in the Night at the Museum movies, showcasing his dramatic chops in television shows like 24 and The Pacific, or nailing comedic timing in the mid-'00s sitcom The War at Home, Malek was obviously a star on the rise. 

    1,990 votes
  • 4
    1,778 VOTES
    Billy Burke
    Photo: Twilight / Summit Entertainment

    For nearly two decades before Twilight, Billy Burke had slowly but surely built a steady career out of small roles as a character actor. For a while, though, the biggest thing he'd ever done was a seven-episode stint on 24 in the early 2000s. Other than that, he had to do his best to shine in small roles. For example, just a year before the first Twilight hit theaters, Burke gave a fantastic performance as detective Rob Nunally in the criminally underrated Ryan Gosling/Anthony Hopkins thriller Fracture

    Deborah Aquila and Tricia Wood, the two people in charge of casting for Twilight, really knocked it out of the park with Burke. He plays the concerned dad so well! In the years since The Twilight Saga has ended, Burke has become a television mainstay. He has had starring or recurring roles in five major television series in the past decade alone, including hits like 9-1-1: Lone Star and Maid.

    1,778 votes
  • 5
    1,713 VOTES
    Dakota Fanning
    Photo: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 / Lionsgate

    Dakota Fanning managed to pull off a major feat that most child actors seemingly just can't muster: making the successful transition from child star to adult actor. Fanning was the go-to young actor of her day, starring in all kinds of major motion pictures before she could even drive herself to auditions. Man on FireHide and Seek, War of the Worlds, and Charlotte's Web are just a few of the big-time flicks she starred in throughout the 2000s.

    Fanning's role as Jane Volturi in the Twilight movies came just as she was starting to branch out from the roles that made her a household name. Films like Push and The Runaways were made around the same time as the Twilight movies, and they showcased Fanning's transition from child actor to adult actor quite nicely. Now she shows up in all kinds of movies like Ocean's 8 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood while also making time for prestige television like The Alienist and The First Lady.

    1,713 votes
  • 6
    1,626 VOTES
    Anna Kendrick
    Photo: Twilight / Summit Entertainment

    You know Anna Kendrick. She's the face of the Pitch Perfect franchise. She's been in everything from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and 50/50 to Up in the Air and A Simple Favor. She's had a top ten pop single with 2013's "Cups." She's one of the elite group of actors who have been nominated for an Academy Award, a Tony Award, and an Emmy Award at some point in their career. Hilton Hotels paid her a lot of money to become their spokesperson for a while. You know Anna Kendrick.

    Of course, when Anna Kendrick was cast in the first Twilight, she wasn't "Anna Kendrick." She was just a young actor who had gotten her start in the New York theater scene before making the leap to film. By the time her last appearance in the franchise happened - a single scene in 2011's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 - her career had already started to pick up quite a bit. Pitch Perfect would hit the next year and it was off to stardom for Kendrick.

    1,626 votes