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`Twilight' director Catherine Hardwicke could leave 'If I Stay'

December 15, 2009 |  6:16 pm

Hardwicke Catherine Hardwicke may not be working on a new movie for Summit Entertainment after all.

The "Twilight" director, who parted ways with Summit on its vampire franchise in late 2008, had since struck a deal with the company to direct "If I Stay," another dramatic film with a teenage girl at its center.

That movie, based on Gayle Forman's young-adult novel, looks at a 17-year-old who is perilously injured in a car crash, floats out of body, and then spends the arc of the story deciding whether she wants to live or die. (Sounds like "The Lovely Bones," but we'll reserve judgment.)

However, sources close to Hardwicke say she is poised to commit exclusively for a period of several months to another project -- the Leonardo DiCaprio-produced "The Girl with the Red Riding Hood" at Warner Bros, which would take her off "Stay."

"Riding Hood," a gothic update of the classic fairy tale, is a priority for Warner Bros. The script has a shiny pedigree -- it's from David Johnson, the writer behind the sleeper horror hit "Orphan" -- and the studio is awaiting a revised draft, which is due in January. With strong teen characters and gothic elements, you might be excused for thinking it could be Warner Bros.' "Twilight." (With the studio's eagerness to lock up Hardwicke, it looks as though Warner Bros. is thinking that way too.)

A year ago, Summit decided not to re-up Hardwicke for "Twilight" sequel "New Moon," bringing on director Chris Weitz instead. But several months later the company quelled rumors of bad blood with Hardwicke when it hired the director to develop "Stay." If the director did indeed leave the Summit project, it won't be the result of any rancor, though the move means that the company and the director will not be reprising any "Twilight" magic in the near future.

It's not hard to see why Hardwicke would opt for "Riding Hood." The director, who capitalized on the $351 million global success of "Twilight" by signing on to direct several films, is not currently attached to any movie that's on the fast track. (In addition to "Stay," she's attached to direct an update of Hamlet with Emile Hirsch at Liberty Media's Overture Films as well as the children's adventure "Maximum Ride" at Sony, but those projects remain in development too.)

Summit is doubling down with another figure key to its "Twilight" success, as it prepares a March release of the Robert Pattinson drama "Remember Me" -- also, coincidentally, about young people and family tragedy.

--Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Catherine Hardwicke. Credit: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images.

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