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What kind of 'Breaking Dawn' will Bill Condon make?

April 28, 2010 |  1:20 pm

Summit confirmed this morning that, as the rumor mill in Hollywood has been churning for weeks, "Dreamgirls" director Bill Condon will come on to direct the fourth installment in the "Twilight" franchise, no doubt prompting an unlikely spike in "Gods & Monsters" DVD sales among teenage girls. (Condon's name was first reported as a "Breaking Dawn" candidate back in March by Entertainment Weekly.)

CondonCondon has generally been thought of as the more logical choice, at least compared to some of the other directors under consideration, like Sofia Coppola and Stephen Daldry.

In making the choice, Summit, which has gone for a different type of director for each film in the franchise, clearly wanted someone with more Oscar chops (Condon's won one and been nominated for a second). That's both because the "Breaking Dawn" material is a little more complicated than the previous books and because with the franchise already an unstoppable juggernaut, they can afford to take a risk, at least a small one.

So what kind of teen-vampire fable will the man responsible for "Dreamgirls," "Gods & Monsters" and "Kinsey" make? None of his previous directing credits are obvious analogues to this movie (though the initial frenzy over him as a candidate was a little baffling; good filmmakers reinvent themselves all the time. And it's nothing compared to Rob Marshall, another man known for musicals, taking on "Pirates of the Caribbean 4").

Each of Condon's directorial films (he also wrote "Chicago," but we'll leave that one out) contains a strand that can be put front and center in "Breaking Dawn" if the director chose (some spoilers ahead if you're not familiar with the novel).

"Dreamgirls," for all its pomp, centers on the larger world persecuting an anointed one, a neat parallel to the ordeal faced by Bella's child. It also tells a sprawling story from several perspectives, as the "Breaking Dawn" novel does.

"Monsters," which tells of the personal and creative trouble of "Bride of Frankenstein" director James Whale, could come in handy if Condon wanted to explore the demons that come from within, a plight particularly faced by Bella throughout the series.

DreamAnd a "Kinsey" influence would mean the foregrounding of a misunderstood but right-minded outsider, which kind of describes all three main protagonists in the series but especially, in this book, describes Jacob, who breaks away from his family over their murderous intentions for Bella's child.

As a rule, Condon has been preoccupied with the underdog in his movies, though one who ultimately triumphs and finds vindication,  which fits nicely with the themes of "Twilight."

Still, plenty of other questions will arise as production moves forward -- namely, whether the film will shoot in 3-D, how the likely second film that will come from the "Breaking Dawn" novel will be developed, and how the timing of this one will unfold, with Summit eager to keep the momentum going but Condon, like most Oscar winners, accustomed to working at a slower pace.

In "Gods & Monsters," Condon depicted a filmmaker beset by troubles as he tried to make an expectation-laden tale of the supernatural. Here's hoping life doesn't imitate art.

--Steven Zeitchik

(Follow me on Twitter.)


Photos: Bill Condon. Credit: Writers Guild of America. "Dreamgirls" poster. Credit: Paramount Pictures.
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Comments () | Archives (17)

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Twilight sucks.

The core of the Twilight saga is the romance between a teenage girl and a vampire. Bella and Edward are the heart and soul of the 4 books which are primarily about romance with action on the side, not the other way around. Catherine Hardwicke succeeded so brilliantly with TWILIGHT because she is a great director, a wonderful creator of magical worlds, and she actually was a teenage girl; she knew how to make her film sexy as well as action-packed. New Moon was a mess and the worst movie I've ever seen. Eclipse looks laughable with the silly wigs and horrible make-up. It was a mistake to fire Rachelle LeFevre, who was a great Victoria, and BDHoward looks ridiculous in her red wig. Now Summit has hired another man for Breaking Dawn even though the first half of the book is as female as it gets: wedding, honeymoon, pregnancy, birth and rebirth as Vampire. Mr. Condon is a song and dance man, "Gods and Monsters" was about a gay man, so he can relate to a teenage girl because.....................? I'll be skipping Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. I'm content with my TWILIGHT DVD, Carter Burwell's amazing score and the books. I will not be buying tickets for the last 2 films and neither will most everyone I know.

The original Twilight was horrible. While I loved Hardwicke's direction in "13", Twilight was trying to be something it wasn't. Hardwicke attempted to make the film a kind of rock and roll, 'independent film' interpretation of the book. The lighting and make-up were terrible and she directed her actors to make it seem like what was happening in their lives non-chalant. It didn't work at all. In fact it was laugable. At least Chris Weitz stayed true to the book and made his version of the film warm and visually stunning. Hopefully Bill Condon will bring the final installment to a whole new level of this complicated novel.

As bad as all these movies have been and Eclipse looks the worst, I'm sure Mr Condon felt like he couldn't lose. On top of that the Twi Zombies don't care how bad the movies are. They'll keep forking over Daddy's money to see a really bad movie. Before a zombie attacks I want you to honestly answer. Are the books better than the movies?
I have read so many books that were made into movies and 80% of the time the movie was as good as the book. Not one of the Twi movies have lived up to the books, not even close.

I personally feel that they need a guy like this to bring BD out in a big, forceful way. Afterall it is the last of the series. I feel that Hardwick made the best movie, for these reasons: It was very organic, it looked very Natural and Raw like the natural settings she chose. The cast's acting ability showed how these young characters were supposed to be portrayed. I am an older women who really enjoyed how this movie was made. Ms. Hardwick used the funds she was provided with in a very imaginative way that brought the whole cast and sets to life. On second thought, maybe she should direct this one too. :)

The only positive choice is "Oscar Masterpiece"? Ummm...yeeeeah.

How about "Like that they chose a decent director but not even Scorsese could turn that book into something great".

Twilight movies are what they are. People like them because they feel attached to the characters in the book not because they are fantastic movies.

Weitz stuck to the book???? New Moon was horrible! In all the books no one can touch Edward when it comes to fighting. He always reads their minds and knows what their next move is. In New Moon they had him humiliated in a battle with the big guy. They had Bella save his life??????There was no fighting action in the New Moon book when Edward, Alice, and Bella were with the Volturi! Alice is grasped by the neck when Jasper clearly shows no one can catch her either. For me they ruined the whole movie by trying to make it more an action flic!! It is a love story---Catherine Hardwicke got that-the men don't!! :( Also, Edward's make up made him look about 35 or 40-yeah, I know he is 108 but he is supposed to be frozen at 17.)

It is simply impossible to please everyone, as the comments below show. I personally loved Hardwicke's indie Twilight and, based on the trailers, I think Eclipse looks very good as I like the action/supernatural elements. New Moon was my least favourite book, reading about Bella's depression makes you depressed too; and this was reflected in the film. One thing that each film has successfully provided is a great soundtrack under a continuous genre (Paramore, Muse, Radiohead...). As a director of musicals, I hope Condon's understanding of music helps him continue with the musical theme of the series.

I really hope they don't make Breaking Dawn into a 3-D movie because I feel it will just ruin everything. breaking Dawn doesn't even have a lot of action in it so it's not like you can really make the 3-D stand out. Bill Condon was a real surprise because it doesn't seem like he has any history of making movies like Twilight. Breaking Dawn is my favorite book out of the Twilight Saga so i really hope the movie turns out great!

Can Bill Condon save this bad franchise? Anyways don't care anymore. More Robert Pattinson the better. Hope Bill gets that ;)

@ KAT...
Funny how people see things so different. I thught Twilight was Horrid! I think New Moon was much better cause of a better budget and a better director I think Hardwicke killed the movie and so do alot of people I know but to each his own

So am I the only one that is worried about the timing? They said at the end like most oscar winners they like to work at a slower pace. Are they saying that it will take them 5 years to get BD out? If so that is the worst mistake they could make! Because then the actors will look much older from the first movie to the last. If they decide to take their sweet time I believe its going to hurt them!

can't wait just hope he follows the book

Finally some great opinions.. I agree with Kathy,CM Dawn and Kat. New Moon was off! The make up, wrong! And Rosalie they made her look not as pretty as she did in Twilight. The cullens eyes are too light! I could go on... Eclipse looks better.. except for the hair and make up! And I hope they show Alice having her visions! I think thats so important! I loved that Hardwicke did. I just don"t see how Stephanie Meyer doesn"t see the awfulness! she praised Weitz. I guess she doesn"t see it the way we did! But atleast we still have the books!

Ok.... here is what I think.... not that it matters, but I wanted to throw in my two cents. At first I thought Twilight sucked, I watched it a second time and really liked it. I saw New Moon and liked it but it was really sad. I agree with Kathy in the fact that they did not need to make Edward look like a wuss by letting him get the crap beat out of him.... however the ending rocked. Eclipse looks pretty interesting... I am a little afraid of the fact that David Slade directed because his past vampire creations were crazy wierd. I am P*#$ed that Kristen Stewart cut her hair for The Runaways, thus creating bad wig number 10 for the franchise. Hopefully Howard Shore can create a score that can top Alexandre Desplat....(i loved it).... didn't like Burwell's as much.... and hopefully this Bill Condon chap can make me actually want to see both breaking dawn movies because that book was awful awful awful.
yet I will go spend my own money to go see the last three because yes I love the characters from the book and I know I am pathetic because I am a 29 year old woman that needs to get a life. byeeee!

i`m a bit worried,dunno why..but at the same time i like this guy because he said he is a big fan of twilight and read all the possible books about it+movie books from mark cotta vaz,so we should feel confident.

i hope breaking dawn will be the best film


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