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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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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."



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

Comments () | Archives (32)

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Honestly, I'm all for a new director! I thought Twilight could have done better! It's huge success was because of the fan base of the book itself. But as a die-hard fan of the book, I went to the theaters, not expecting that it will be as per the book, but I was a little disappointed because I think the script could have been done better and the Hardwicke could have done better. She did an okay job. But the Edward Cullen's and Bella Swan's love story deserved a better than 'okay' screen adaptation! It should have been great! It could be great! So, I'm all for supporting Chris Weitz, particularly because I heard he was a writer too. Maybe he should start by checking on Rosenberg's draft! A LOT OF IMPROVEMENT MIGHT BE NEEDED THERE!

I don't believe that t hat was the point he was trying to get across. In the translation above I feel he was misquoted.

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Absolutely agree with Twilight Mom in that Twilight missed those key scenes from the book - well said! So I hope Chris Weitz maintains the scenes that are pivotal in NM, the birthday, the forest departure scene!!! and then the trip to Italy. You don't need a screenwriter to put those things in film and make the actors do and say what was written so eloquently in the book. Chris just needs to make sure that Kristen is able to show EMOTIONS that span beyond a snarl when Edward leaves and then extreme happiness when they are reunited. (My two daughters and I are waiting for her to show that she really "adores" Edward, at least that's what the book says.) If he can do that, then you will satisfy this Twilight Dad, Tasha and Sam :-).

To that Taylor Hood girl, wtf is your problem. Actually, this goes for everyone who is "anti-Chris", if Chris Weitz had directed Twilight instead of Catherine, you would all be fine with him. One of the facts of life is that people are just opposed to change. Since Chris Weitz is a change, you are all complaining. I think that the Bella emotion issue is garbage, any film director can bring emotion to life because as Chris said emotion is universal, and I think that Chris can easily tackle New Moon and hopefully the rest of the films in the series. Look at what our country just did, we accepted change by electing President Obama into office, so look on the bright side that nothing is perfect, not even the Twilight movie, and Chris Weitz can take the best and the worst of Catherine's work from Twilight and all of Stephenie's work from New Moon and create an amazing movie.

Congrulations to Mr. Weitz1 I too thought the movie Twilight was well casted put poorly directed. Who is Catherine Hardwick anyway. I am a busy mother of 1 1/2 year old twins and every second i am not with them i am reading The Twilight Saga. I am looking forward to the New Movie it is my new Harry Potter fix. And I was fortunate enough to even meet and greet J.K. Rowling herself in New York last year. Lastly, R. Pattinson is the perfect EDWARD and K. Stewart is the perfect BELA, job well done there!!!

I read Twilight about 6 months ago and was immediately captured by Stephenie Meyer's vivid details and the way she wrote the whole book was remarkable. Therefore, when I heard there was going to be a movie, I was excited, but not thrilled, for I knew it would not be as good as the book. But actually, it was not even close to how I imagined the book. I feel like Catherine Hardwicke missed the KEY PARTS of Twilight, and I was very disappointed when she skipped over Edward's whole history as well as his fathers. I feel like that really set the mood and gave more background about his family. I strongly feel that the only reason the Twilight movie was such a huge success, was because of Stephenie Meyer, not Catherine. Nobody knew how good or bad the movie was going to be, they were just all excited to see this moving book put on screen. Therefore, I think a new director was the right and only choice. In my opinion, if Catherine directed the next movie, I think they would make half the amount of money they consumed from Twilight, IF they were lucky. Therefore, I wish Chris the best of luck and although he's never director a movie quite like this before, I think he will take this seriously for he sees how many people Stephenie Meyer really inspired.

I am very glad someone besides Catherine Hardwicke is doing New Moon, I loved the movie Twilight but she left out so many important scenes. And I'm not saying its all her fault, because its not. But I think she could have had a much bigger influence on the crucial scenes. She smeared the meadow scene through the mud, that should have been one of, if not the biggest, scenes. Thats where the entire book started. Chris Weitz can't do any worse than CH. I'm excited to see his view of New Moon and how they will put the missing Edward chapters on the screen. Good luck Chris!

I have big hope for the new director because I CAN NOT see the love between Bella & Edward on the twilight movie. The great love of Bella & Edward that makes the book soooo good isnt it ??
I Agree with Aly, Hardwicke left so many important scene..can not showed the great love of Bella & Edward. good luck Chris ! New Moon is my fav book

At the risk of offending the many Twilight fans out there (sorry ladies)... isn't it time for a smarter vampire story?

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