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Chris Weitz on getting the 'Twilight' gig: The secret translation

Twilight3As any PR pro will tell you, whether you're embarking on an invasion of Iraq or just hiring a new filmmaker for your popular movie series, what counts isn't the actual event so much as the media positioning and rollout for it. Whenever I get a press release these days, I find myself reading between the lines, trying to figure out, once you get past the puffy official prose, what the statement really means. This goes double for Summit Entertainment's announcement that it's hired Chris Weitz (best known for co-helming "American Pie," "About a Boy" and directing "The Golden Compass") to take over its fantastically successful "Twilight" franchise, barely a week after Summit and "Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke had a messy falling out over various "creative differences," to use a popular press-release obfuscation phrase.

I'm not saying Weitz is a bad choice, even if I happen to be a bigger fan of his brother Paul Weitz's films, which seem more quirky and personal (Paul did "In Good Company" and "American Dreamz"). But Chris is a talented writer-director and, having shepherded "Golden Compass" to worldwide box-office success, clearly can handle the popularization of a franchise property. But what's fascinating, for the moment, is how Chris handled his first big assignment--reaching out and reassuring "Twilight" fans who were upset over Hardwicke's sudden departure, wanted a woman director to get the gig, or crave a absolutely faithful translation of the remaining books in the series, starting with "New Moon," which Summit hopes to have in theaters by the end of next year.

So here are a few excerpts from what Chris said in his letter to fans--and what it really means:

What he said: "In the past few days I have been involved in a whirlwind romance with Stephenie Meyer's  extraordinary books."

What it means: "It's amazing how fast Amazon can rush an overnight shipment of books to your house."

What he said: "I am very grateful to have received [Stephenie's] permission to protect 'New Moon' in its translation from the page to the screen."

What it means: "I passed the audition."

What he said: "For the last decade of my career as a director, I have chosen to make adaptations of complex and involved works of literature."

What it means: "I barely remember being that smart-aleck brat who did all the semen jokes and sexist gags in 'American Pie.' " 

What he said: "When I saw the film of 'Twilight' ... I was struck by the extraordinary passion for the characters, story and theme that was evident in the people sitting in the seats around me."

What it means: "I saw the film in a real movie theater, not in my agent's screening room."

What he said: "Like many of you, I am a fan of Catherine Hardwicke's work. I can't really say much about why she is not doing 'New Moon' because I wasn't involved in those decisions."

What it means: "Don't blame me for her getting the ax. It was those guys over there that fired her."

What he said: "To those of who doubt that as a male director I can capture Bella's experience, I can only say that emotion is universal...."

What it means: "It's not like they hired Michael Bay, OK?"

What he said: "... and my work has often involved working with some of the most talented actresses in the world."

What it means: "By saying 'some of' we're obviously not counting Tara Reid."

RELATED:

WHY 'TWILIGHT" DIRECTOR CATHERINE HARDWICKE GOT THE BOOT:

Photo of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in "Twilight" by Deana Newcomb / Summit Entertainment

 
Comments () | Archives (32)

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Hi;

The movie sucked, the book was faaaaar better. I was looking forward to it for months and I was disappointed as are all my friends who saw it.

J

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i HATE you Chris Weitz.U cannot and i know that u will not be able to capture bellas experience in the movie.u will ruin the pristine twilight name and the whole series.Catherine Hardwicke is the only one who can really create the twilight movies that everyone wants to see.Your a low-life loser who deserves to have the whole world hate you.And i hope the whole world does hate you after new moon comes out.a man should NOT and i repeat NOT be making the twilight movies.I hope edward drains ur dumb-ass.i can't wait to see how much u ruin the greatest movie series in history.Robert Pattinson should kick ur ass.he too good to be working with someone as horrible as you.

Robert Pattinson Fan and twihard for life(even though Chirs Weitz is gonna F**K up th whole damn series)

Everyone relax. Did you go into the theater expecting the book? That cannot happen. Just try and enjoy a movie. Why is everyone such haters? Why cant he do a good job? Its not like he has 100% percent control of everything. You act like if someone likes to joke they cant be serious. We are all multi facented people here.

Though I liked Catherine Hardwick's accessibility to the fans during production and post-production, I was disappointed with her direction of Twilight. Though she obviously cared for the story, bad editing, bad close-ups, bad angles and bad (and some totally unnecessary) special effects proved that a love of the story is not enough. Twilight could have been much better than the final product turned out to be. I think that it's successs at the box office is proof of the fan base devotion to the story. Conversely, it's flaws prevented it from attaining what could have been "Titantic" proportions.

That Chris Weitz is starting off by addressing fan concerns starts him off on the right foot in my book. But, as he himself acknowledges, the proof is in the pudding. I am totally pulling for him!

I am writing as an avid Twilight reader and fan. Not your typical fan, I might add! I, unlike the usual fans, am a grandmother. I do have to admit that I am very upset that Catherine Hardwicke will not be on board for the second installment in the Twilight series. I have read the books, seen the movie and and tried to sleep at night while the books called to me to wake up and read more. I have to admit that I never would have believed that I would have been anything other than a "Harry Potter" fan for life. I read all of that series and have seen, many times, all of the movies to date. Then, along comes Stephanie Meyer with her books and I'm hooked. I have read several editorials as to why teens and their grandmother's are the biggest fans of Twilight. I do think I have some insight into this question. As a teen, many years ago, our main source of "scary" movies and stories had to do with werewolves and vampires and I found it irresistible back then as I still do today. The television soap opera "Dark Shadows" played a large roll in my love for vampires too, especially romantic versions. Catherine Hardwicke could not have picked a better cast than she did. Robert Pattinson absolutely "became" Edward from the book and went beyond my expectations that anyone could pull that role off! He was magnificent as Edward and I can't imagine anyone else doing it. I just feel bad for him that he will become this superstar with teens chasing him for years. Kristen is the perfect Bella and the rest of the Cullen family were perfectly cast. I just wish that Katherine would be on board for the next installments of this movie, she put such passion into it making it totally believable! I can't believe a man can bring this same feeling to the screen. I hope he proves me wrong.

Taylor Hood-

You're a freak.

i think that 'twi-obsessed' people that are dissing chris for taking over need to take a step back, i think if given a chance he can create NEW MOON like twilight should have been and we learn from the mistakes and audience reactions so i congradulate him for going public to the fans and reassuring them i felt relived when i read the article and he's quotes and i am a full supporter of him and twilight and even though i think twilight could of been better i still saw it in cinemas 3 TIMES so far so hey what can i say. GOOD LUCK CHRIS, i hope you succed in making new moon a TITANIC exsperience. thanks.

I think that the movie was great but the book was definetley better. In the movie it was too fast paced and there was too much cut out. I went with 22 of my frineds to see the movie and some of them had not read the book. They had to keep asking my questions because it was not easy to understand for people who had not read the book. I think the relationship had t be stronger between Bella and Edward. I will be very upset if Taylor Lautner is not in the movie it will ruin it because no one likes a movie where the characters are constantly changing. It will be like another Bring It On and no one wants that to happen to twilight. I hope that New Moon will be good, but i dont have my hopes up because the book was not as good a twilight.

I am so incredibly upset over Chris Weitz taking on this film. He is NOT the person for the job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A WOMAN NEEDS TO DO THIS FILM!!!!! I wish it were the original because she was SPECTACULAR AT CAPTURING THE RELATIONSHIP WITH HONOR TO THE CHARACTERS RELATIONSHIP IN THE BOOK.

SUMMIT, I AM NOT EXPECTING TO LIKE THE REST OF THESE FILMS NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU NEED TO FIRE CHRIS AND HIRE SOMEONE THAT WILL DO THE FILMS JUSTICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YOU WILL LOOSE THE ENTIRE FAN BASE IF YOU DON'T.

ok so the movie wasen't as great as the book i think everyone who read the book knows that. I mean i really didn't like how it cut off some important stuff that are in the book. For example I was really excited to see the scene when they are in the clearing and how bella and edward confess there love to each other and then after they have there first kiss, i mean i read the book again just before i went to see the movie i was really pumped up and I had high hopes that atleast some of the important scenes would be there, but i guess it couldn't be helped i just hope new moon is better even though its really sad in the begining. I hope this new dude makes it a good movie and if it is it will make me cry more than i cried when i read the book.

 
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