Director Catherine Hardwicke's lavish movie retelling "Red Riding Hood" will open in theaters Friday. Although there will be some inevitable comparisons between the new Amanda Seyfried-starrer and Hardwicke's previous film, the 2008 smash hit "Twilight," Hardwicke says she has no regrets about leaving behind the franchise adapted from Stephenie Meyer's wildly popular young adult novels about high school student Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and the two supernatural hunks vying for her affection.
"I'm not really a sequel person," she says, though she admits to loving both "Godfather II" and "Aliens." "I like the first ['Twilight'] book the best. Then it went into Anne Rice land. I wasn't that into the other ones."
Hardwicke, though rumored to have been fired from the 2009 "Twilight" follow-up "New Moon," which was directed by Chris Weitz, says it was impossible for her to be let go since she had the first right of refusal on the sequel built into her contract.
She adds that both Weitz and David Slade, helmer of the third movie, "Eclipse," had many more constraints put on them than she did, remembering that when "Twilight" was filming it was still an under-the-radar project and not nearly the juggernaut it is today.
"There was a massive amount of pressure on them," she says. "I had a lot more freedom. Half of the stuff in my movie is not in the book... I got to put a lot of my imagination and my own fingerprints on it. That's not the case anymore. Now they are watched like a hawk."
As to whether Hardwicke liked the other directors' adaptations, she is more diplomatic.
"Like I said, I think the directors had a lot more obstacles.... I'm not a good judge. Even when I was a designer, I didn't want to do a sequel. If I got called for a job that was a sequel, I didn't go to the interview. Why would I want something that somebody else had already done, even if that somebody was me?"
-- Nicole Sperling
Photo: Director Catherine Hardwicke, right, with actress Amanda Seyfried on the set of "Red Riding Hood."
Credit: Warner Bros.