4/09/2009

Director Talks Twilight and Why She Walked Away From the Sequel


There is no denying Catherine Hardwicke’s love for the book series and the character created by Stephanie Meyer is very evident as she just released Twilight: Director’s Notebook: The Story of How We Made the Movie based on the Novel by Stephanie Meyer. Sure the title is quite the mouth full, but it looks and feels like a gift to the fans for their support and to further show her love for the books and the characters.

“If you’re a fan of the movie then you can see some of the inside stories," said Hardwicke. 'Such as how we came up with the costumes, the hair designs, along with some of my own drawings and story boards. The other thing is if you’re interested in being a filmmaker it does break it down on how we planned out the shots, with a lot of detail. I also hope it becomes a neat little thing you can keep to look at the photographs and remember things about the film and get even more into the movie.”

On movie projects there are moments that stand out on every film a director works on. It’s usually something subtle or a moment that only they themselves understand. With her love of the book series Hardwicke had one of those moments showing how excited she was to work on “Twilight.”
“It’s when we went out into the woods in a specific rain forest and had a camera crane and actually got to drift through the trees," said Hardwicke. "And it came to life. You had to smile because I thought I just got to show Edward in the woods.”

There is always a pressure when bringing successful books to the big screen. Just as many directors have failed at pulling it off, as have succeeded. The fact that you love the material isn’t always enough as a director must have a similar vision like the author had when writing the novels.

“Since I loved the books in a way it made it easier because I knew what made me love it and got swept away by the cool romance," explained Hardwicke. "I thought how we can put that to screen, because you just can’t do books on tape, because we already have that. We had to make it visual and bring it to life and that’s what I had to dream about everyday on how can I make this scene cool and capture the feeling of the book.

“Twilight” has made household names of stars Robert Pattinson, and Kristen Stewart who brought the beloved characters Edward and Bella to life. You couldn’t go to the mall or anywhere else without seeing these characters plastered all over selling every product you could possibly think to license. Chemistry was the key to making the movie work and for the actor’s to satisfy closely watching fans the right two had to be found and that led to a wide search.

“We did an extensive search and the top four of the actor’s I found came over to my house and over a two day period we did three scenes with each of them with Kristen Stewart. There is no way I could cast Edward unless they had that chemistry, so I was filming it to see if it was going to come alive do these two people have that right ingredient? When we saw Robert (Pattinson) and Kristen together it was a done.”

In what was a surprise too many Hardwicke will not direct the next installment of the series “New Moon.” Rumors were flying that the director was fired off the project, but according to Hardwicke it was her decision to pass on the sequel even though it sadden her to do so.

“I feel a little bit sad about it, but I didn’t want to rush the next film," said Hardwicke. "I was talking to Jon Faverau recently and he told me there was two years between Iron Man movies and Christopher Nolan had three years between Batman films. There has to be time at least for me to let it simmer, cook, and dream about it and wake up in the night, thinking let’s try this cool thing. The schedule they had to fulfill their marketing needs and I respect that, but I didn’t think I could do a good job, but I’m glad they found someone else who can. I wanted the second movie to be better than the first if I did it. I didn’t think I could make it better under that time schedule. Yes, I’m sad, but it’s allowing me to do other things, I’m working on other projects, writing, and meeting with actors and that’s fun.”
Many times in Hollywood the big fat cats, sitting in the ivory towers make decisions based solely on the almighty dollar. That point seemed to be solidified with the expectations for a sequel to “Twilight” needing to be ready to go in less than a year. Hardwicke understands their position and is excited about another project the same studio gave her, and she seems to be at peace with the choice to walk away.

“The studios want it to be good as well, I think they were looking at the great release date and wanted it again," says Hardwicke. "The same studio recently sent me another book called 'If I Stay' and it’s a really beautiful book, and we’re working on it now. I just don’t think I could have done a good enough job, and I had my own standards in my mind, and they found someone raring to go. Look at the Harry Potter films with the different directors and it brings a new energy, and I think it’s going to be good.”

Hardwicke has directed a variety of films in her career. The provocative and disturbing film “Thirteen” is a movie that Hardwicke still gets surprising reaction from. The film released in 2003 it told the story of Tracy who was always a good girl until she becomes friends with a girl that introduces her to the world of sex, drugs and many other destructive habits. The film was and still is controversial as it raised serious issues.

It seems with “Thirteen” people relate to it all over the world you think it would only be an LA story, but I’ve heard from people in Athens, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo who all say their daughters are going through the same thing. I think by making it very specific it became universal and I hear all the time from people that they teach it in their 9th grade boys so they know how to treat girls better, or understand them. Also they teach it in college and in rehab centers that use it as therapy to help girls understand they aren’t alone in the things they’re struggling through.

With the overwhelming success of a pop culture phenomenon like “Twilight” Hardwicke no matter what she does in future project has forever cemented her name to legions of fans everywhere.

“I glad to be known for something, laughed Hardwicke, I think it’s great because I’ve developed a fun relationship with fans from all over the world, I’ve got to meet so many people that the film means so much too. I consider those people my friends and they will go on with their lives but they will always remember when the 'Twilight' movie came out.”

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