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'Twilight': What does Catherine Hardwicke's exit bode for 'New Moon'?

Hardwicke_2 By now, Sunday's sudden and stunning news that "Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke would not return to helm "New Moon" has had time to sink in.

Consider what her departure means for the franchise.

Hardwicke was key in casting Kristen Stewart and breakthrough star Robert Pattinson as the young lovers in Stephenie Meyer's romantic vampire saga, and she's got a proven track record in dealing with themes and issues concerning young people ("Thirteen" and "Lords of Dogtown.")

Perhaps more important, Hardwicke, who in fact is still on the promotional tour for the film, which has grossed almost $140 million in the U.S. alone, is something of a "Twilight" fangirl herself. The night before the Los Angeles premiere, she visited fans in line -- many of whom had been there for a couple of days -- posing for pictures and signing autographs. She was also at least partially responsible for getting the film's initial script, which she compared to "Charlie's Angels," nixed in favor of a more faithful telling.

Now she's gone and fans what to know what happens next. There are few schools of thought:

Not to fret, different directors can keep a series fresh. Just look at the "Harry Potter" movies, which began with the straight-forward adaptations of Christopher Columbus, went through a darker if more emotionally powerful period with Alfonso Cuaron ("Prisoner of Azkaban"), got an adrenaline boost from Mike Newell ("Goblet of Fire"), and have matured under David Yates ("Order of the Phoenix" and the upcoming "Half-Blood Prince.") Ditto other successful franchises such as "James Bond," the "Bourne" movies.

Movie watchers have already begun discussing who should take over. RopeOfSilicon.com has five female suggestions, among them Kimberly Pierce, who directed "Boys Don't Cry," and Mira Nair from "The Namesake." Earlier this month, Film.com weighed in with its top choices, including young upstart Sarah Polley and long-shot Sofia Coppola.

It doesn't matter who's behind the lens, as long as screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg sticks around. Rosenberg is credited with condensing 500+ pages of story into a two-hour film, helping to eliminate some of Meyer's clunkier passages of prose and injecting more humor into Meyer's story (i.e. the exchanges between Charlie and Billy, the dialog among Bella's human pals, details such as the wall of graduation caps.) Critics who had positive things to say about the film were grateful.

On the flip side, taking such liberties infuriated some Meyer devotees, and could do so to an even larger extent in "New Moon." Rosenberg reportedly achieved a way to squeeze in more screen time for Edward, even when he's supposed to go MIA for the majority of the second book.

The cast will be back -- what could go wrong? Pattinson and Stewart aren't going anywhere. Does anything else matter?

We have a problem, Forks. Whether or not you fell in love with Hardwicke's vision, the director's finger was on the pulse of "Twilight" fans. She relentlessly scoured Oregon for Bella's and Edward's perfect meadow, the pivotal scene for most readers. She made sure Stewart and Pattinson would steam up the screen -- on her own bed, no less. She made sure the book's many characters were all accounted for, even arguably expendable folk such as Eric.) She even went so far as to film a scene from "Midnight Sun," Meyer's as-yet-unfinished retelling of "Twilight" from Edward's perspective, which will be included as a bonus for fans on the film's forthcoming DVD. Will Summit Entertainment be able to find another director so in touch with teens and just as passionate about the source material?

What do you all think? Is Hardwicke's exit a good or bad thing for "New Moon"? Does it make a difference? Who do you want to see take over? 

-- Denise Martin

Related:
"Twilight" sequel "New Moon" gets the green light from Summit
Complete "Twilight" Countdown coverage

Photo: Catherine Hardwicke. Credit: Getty Images

 
Comments () | Archives (105)

I can honestly say that I'm glad they're going to have a new director for New Moon. Catherine is a talented director (which I'm sure of cos I've seen her other movies), but the movie just didn't live up to the book at all.

The editing was pretty poor, and although the music choice was good, it didn't come in at the right moments. We could have done off without as much voiceovers, and without all those cameras circling around and raking over everything.

I hope the next director would be able to weed out the cheesy effects from the good ones, because Catherine seemed to have missed a few spots on that one. (i.e. : the fork of lightning when emmett and edward crash in mid-air during the baseball scene) A bit much, don't you think?

And I wish the media would stop crediting Catherine's "awesome directing" for the movie's success. If there wasn't such a rabid fanbase utterly devoted to this series who would still watch the movie 20 times even though it sucks, this movie would not have been able to make even half of its current $140 million earnings from the US.

Melissa Rosenberg did a wonderful job with the script, I'll give her that, and I'm really excited that she's still sticking around for New Moon.

I can guarantee that most Twilighters will squeal, scream, swoon, giggle and sigh with joy during the movie, walk out of the cinema after it ends and say "Well, that was a disappointment", and buy tickets to see it again soon after.

Cos even though we know it was badly made, and to put it in a straightforward manner, sucked, we still love watching and rewatching it, cos we're absolutely devoted to anything Twilight.

And as I have read numerous comments across the internet (in varying websites) that insist upon the fact that Catherine should not be blamed for the movie's poor quality, allow me to say that as the director, she does oversee the writing of the script, the editing of footage, the music choice, the casting, and pretty much everything, so she IS in fact in charge of making sure everything runs the way she wants it.

Hence, she is responsible for how the footage is, how well the music goes with the scenes, how the actors portray their characters, etc etc. SHE is supposedly the essential core to the making of the movie.

Let's just pray that we get a more insightful director for New Moon, who is prepared to handle the chaste romantic relationship between Edward and Bella, and the light-hearted yet a little awkward (since Jake is in love with Bella) friendship between Jake & Bella, with a little more care than Catherine.

We don't want a badly made chick flick movie made out of New Moon. (wow, this post is long :P)

I think that Catherine did an excellent job bringing the necessary emotions needed to the big screen. I am deeply saddened that she wont be even assisting in the making of New Moon. However, while I love the work that Catherine does, the fact that the next book was requiring huge werewolves, I was concerned. If the wolves are not done right, then the entire flick will be a bust in my opinion.
The choice to change directors may have been risky, but I do not believe it to have been gender related. Nor do I believe that they will hire a male director simply because he is MALE. They will find whomever is suitable and judge by what they can bring to the table.

Personally, I think that they should bring in Stephen Sommers. He was the creative genius behind VanHelsing and he needs to have his enormous, CGI werewolves make a comeback!

BECCA!!! I agree with you whole-heartedly! I'm a huge Twilight/Stephenie Meyer fan, but I was severly disappointed in the movie. I loved the actors and parts of the film were great, but the scenes that were lacking were down right horrible.

I completely agree that the beginning of New Moon really needs to focus on capturing the emotional relationship of Bella and Edward as Twilight brought it off completely about lust (though that is definitely a big part- it's not the only one!). I didn't mind the few liberties that Melissa took. They were well done and meshed with the characters and storyline... So, as long as nothing plot-changing or character-altering happens, if it makes the story come across better on screen, I'm all for it. People need to jump on board that mind-set or the following movies will be lack-luster as well.

Brett Ratner could have directed Twilight and had it open just as well. Hardwicke is a subpar director at best.

Catherine has moved on, for whatever reasons. I'm sorry to say I think this was more Summit's push than Catherine's choice, but what's done is done. I think she was a benefit to the film in regards to her dedication to the canon storyline and I already envision dark clouds circling over New Moon. A new director is going to make a different film, which New Moon is, but the new director is unlikely to be as faithful or as considerate to Stephenie Meyer. Will this be a good or bad thing, who knows.

Regardless, I hope Summit will be able to keep it's mind off the dollars and pay attention to the story, because the money they made was a direct response from the fan base of the books. (Many of whom loathed the film but for the purpose of seeing NM come to life sucked their viewing pleasure in and went back to see Twilight again and again.). If Summit gets lost in the great money adventure and ends up leaving the story line to a less than excellent (and as word has it, unrevised) script, they will fail, and the fans will decimate their box office revenues.

Hardwicke is extremely talented, and I think it was a horrible idea to get rid of her after she successfully recreated the first and most important film in the entire series. What people seen in this is what they are going to take and expect in the next films. At the moment, Summitt sucks!

this is the best thing to happen to twilight. i'm sorry - i loved the books. and i REALLY appreciate that Hardwicke did stay true to the storyline. but the movie was a joke. I laughed my way through the entire thing - hysterically at some points! when edward stepped into the meadow and his skin glistened with fairy dust that looked like it was dusted with bonnie bell glitter bought at the CVS on the corner? or the lame closeups that didn't utilize the emotions of the actors but tried to use bad camera action and bad music to be evocative? And ROSALIE? The casting on that was atrocious. Jacob too - i know it isn't fair but for him to be such a pull to Bella it might be nice to have him be slightly attractive (though she did hit the wolf look on the head). Plus Edward was supposed to be smooth and suave and Hardwicke directed that role to be awkward and choppy and made "Edward" seem like a terrible actor. I couldn't be happier. This movie was awful. Let's get some real talent in to direct the rest of the series. CH doesn't have what it takes.

I'm a little baffled to hear praise for Melissa Rosenberg's adaptation. While I wasn't crazy about the directing (and am thrilled she's gone), the script was the worst part of the whole thing to me. I'm a huge fan of the book, and I feel like Melissa cut out some of the most popular lines from the book, awkwardly re-worded others and just overall missed the mark. Even the quirky human teen scenes were cheesy - like they were pulled from a bad after-school special and completely killed the mood of the story. And the way she handled the meadow scene was a joke. Go back and read that chapter in the book and tell me how the movie resembles that scene in any way. It doesn't. Sorry.

Furthermore, I DO NOT agree with giving Edward more screen time in New Moon. Don't get me wrong... I love Edward and Rob does an amazing job with the role. But New Moon is all about Bella suffering without Edward being there. She thinks he's gone for good. In reading it, I felt that way too. I want to feel that way when I watch the movie. This effect makes his return at the end that much more powerful, which is why I love New Moon so much.

Summit, please, please, please stay true to the book. Don't let Rosenberg botch this one.

Ugh! Catherine totally got the Twilight universe... say what some will about the movie... but isn't the most important thing the connection? The understanding... Catherine had that! Who else is going to have that... in 3 months no less?! I doubt Summit will find someone so dedicated and willing to give so much to this as Catherine would have... but then... it doesn't seem like Summit is too interested in integrity at this point.

I'm so crazy excited for the "midnight sun" scene. and as means as this sounds im glad someone else will be directing the nex one ... ive read every book and was dissapointed a lot by the movie... the special effects were awful and the characters didnt fit right ( except for rosalie and alice"

After seeing the film, I was very disappointed. I think that Summit has a chance to tell a better story by using a different director. Because of the special effects that will be required in "New Moon," I think that using a director such as Peter Jackson (Lord of the Ring trilogy), Joel Schumacher (The Phantom of the Opera), or Wolfgang Peterson (The Perfect Storm) would be a wise choice given thier experiences in producing a believable story, as well as maintaing the heart of the story. If Summit is looking for a director that can play up more of the relationships between the characters then Gary Marshall (The Princess Diaries) or Nancy Myers (What Women Want) would exceed all expectations. Too bad I can't think of a director that encompases both these qualities. Best of luck to Summit in the dififcult task ahead, and I eagerly await the release of the next film in this wonderful series.

Whether you thought Catherine did a good job or not, you have to admit that she was passionate about the film. She tried to stay true to the original story as much as possible. Also, she and Kristen Stewart changed alot of dialogue to make it less cheesy, which I have to say the original dialogue must have been pretty bad. It sounds like to me that Catherine wanted to try to make New Moon better and that Summit doesn't really care, they just want to get the money flowing. Just wait and see, New Moon will be a disaster! It has to be, because Summit just wants to jump in and quickly get it done, there is no way it will be good. That's what happens when you have a bunch of greedy suits running the show. Twilight fans will go see the movies even if they're horrible and Summit knows it, that's why they don't care what quality of picture they put out! I hope it all blows up in their face!!!

It will be interesting to see who they find to replace Catherine after all she's done, indeed. However, as a twilight fan, I must tell you that saying things like "Meyer's clunkier passages of prose" could get you in trouble. That personally offends me because there is nothing clunky about her writing...the story is wonderful and does not need any additionally added humor. The script for the movie actually took out some of that humor and replaced it with their own. I will admit though that you are right about Billy and Charlie...their interactions were funnier and the gun scene with Charlie was priceless in its hilarity.

Wow, if they're claiming the film we got was a more faithful narrative than the original script, I shudder to think what the original must have been. I totally agree that some of SM's scenes in the book were too "clunky" for the big screen, but that doesn't mean what we got was the answer to the issue. Since my viewing of the movie I've had several ideas on what could have been done differently - most particularly about the scene where Edward first smells Bella (that scene was not supposed to be funny, no matter what others may think) - but that's my own thoughts of course.

Given my love of Twilight, I'm seriously hoping the next installment will be better but I'm not holding my breath. No countdown widgets on my blog, though I'm pretty sure I'll give it a shot, even though we're going to get too much Jacob for my liking.

We shall see.

I'm really worried
about the next film
now.

hmmm...

I was really looking forward to Catherine's take on Bella's depression. I think her skills would have really shown. I bet Summit will really downplay the depression and upplay the werewolves and Edward.. which will change the story!

It's a teenage romance, and I knew Catherine would honor that.
I'm really pissed at Summit for firing her.

For all of you people complaining about MelissaR - you are crazy. She SAVED the movie with her awesome script. She took Meyer's cheesy writing and made it REAL. It felt much more authentically teenage-speak. It was funny at times. It was scary at times. And the romance scenes were wonderful.

Get a clue! Melissa did a great job.
Twilight the movie was better than Twilight the book! (and I'm a huge fan of the books)!

I really loved Twilight and actually saw it twice in the theater and can't wait for the DVD to be released. It definitely followed the theme and the tone of the book. For me, Catherine Hardwicke did a great job with bringing the book to life. In terms of the critics, a lot of the time, when the majority of them rant and rave about a movie, I don't like it. They tend to like the odd ones and Twilight is a brilliant love story brought to life by Catherine Hardwicke on the big screen. What happen to working together for the greater good of the film and the audience?

I can't imagine why Summit would want to fix something that isn't broken. The movie is making money for them. I do have questions/concerns about changing the director such as how will the continuity of the sequel be affected? How will the cast react to a new director? What will the overall feel on the set be like? Will Summit rush through the making of the movie just to get the almighty dollar quickly while sacrificing the integrity of New Moon? Catherine really understands the feel of the book series and is devoted to keeping the movie true to the book in the best possible way.

We have Catherine Hardwicke and Kristen Stewart to thank for choosing Rob Pattinson as Edward. Rob portrays Edward perfectly and I cannot imagine what would have happened if another director would have been in the driver seat for Twilight. We might have missed out on the phenomenal chemistry between Rob and Kristin and what makes the movie,Twilight, the success it is to Twilight fandom. I hope Summit reconsiders their decision.

Thank Goodness Catherine Hardwicke will not be directing New Moon! I LOVED the twilight series, of course, but the movie wasn't what I expected. It was a little too cheesy and, as the director, Hardwicke should have seen that the bond between Edward and Bella was supposed to be full of passion, not full of tension. I am glad that the people at Summit realize that the fans do not want to wait 2 years for Hardwicke to figure out what she thinks will be best for New Moon, the books are already the foundation for the story, so why would there need to be sooooo much time between films?

As far as what should be different in New Moon... The people I have spoken to who have not read Twilight, but have seen the movie, were all lost during the movie because they couldn't understand the feelings and thoughts that Bella felt. New Moon the movie needs to follow the feelings that the characters have in the book, because Twilight did not do that fully. Now Summit needs to find a director who can relay the pain both Edward and Bella are going through in New Moon, and someone who can revamp their feelings (the passion that should have been more present in Twilight).

Best news I've heard about this movie! CH did an awful job and there was no character development at all. The book was very character and detail driven! Bella did not have a laptop an ipod or a cell phone!!!! She was ordinary and simple and Edward was anything but. That was a huge part of the "experience" which is Twilight. Chatherine made a teeny bopper movie! Come on Stephanie Meyer! Don't sell the rest of the series out!

I want Catherine back!!! no one could ever understand and love this story as much as she does! Its so unfair that they didn't give her the opportunity to show what she could do with a bigger budget! I believe she had the right vision for New Moon, but it was just too expensive according with those mediocre producers!

I'm concerned as well. I mean, I thought Twilight was pretty good, and I'm wary as to what another director could do. I mean, there were some parts that didn't thrill me (the meadow scene was totally messed up, for one), but I still loved the movie! I hope Summit can find a good replacement...

I wish Catherine well. I am looking forward to new director who could bring out human in Bella, she acts as if she is the vampire most of the time . Little more fluidity to the film, building on rest of the cast. I felt Cullens needed to be little more immortal...having said all that I absolutely loved the book and the movie.

I honestly don't know what to think.
If Catherine had to go, Rosenberg should too. I was very upset with a lot of the dialogue and "little tidbits" that she added in all over the place. Also, EDWARD is MISSING from much of New Moon, and that's what makes it so great. His reappearence at the end will be better if Rosenberg doesn't add crap in. I'm not a huge movie buff, so it's hard for me to say if Hardwicke was the problem, but even if she was, I think Rosenberg was too.
As for other directors, Joe Wright would be awesome. He would understand the love in the movie New Moon, and be able to portray the angst with it (the Notebook, anyone?). Sofia Coppola would also be wonderful, I think she'd keep the indie feel, but she's a long shot.
All in all, I'm disappointed in Summit.

I think passion for the book and project is one thing, but portraying the book and everything essential about it well is another. The books are wonderful, hence the legions of fans who went to see the movie. It's great that she's spunky and really loved reading the books, but where in the heck was the story from the book? And if the script isn't right, then you go back and change it. Here's a note to the studio and the producers: you wanna make a lot MORE money (and I think you do), stick with the books as closely as possible, and you'll make every Twilight fan happy and probably convert a large number of new ones, too.

I don't think this news is bad, but the pressure is definitely high for the studio. I hope they are up to the challenge... and the anger of the fans if they mess it up.

 
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