Catherine Hardwicke Dropped from ‘New Moon’
Nikkie Finke broke the story this weekend that Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke was not being invited back to make the sequel New Moon. Summit Entertainment quickly assured Deadline Hollywood that "Catherine and Summit have agreed to part ways on the sequel because our visions are different." In other words, Summit didn’t like Hardwicke.
The news breaks as Hardwicke and the teen cast is touring Europe to promote the blockbuster so the timing could have been better. It also comes after Hardwicke cleanly broke the ranks and became the female director with the best opening weekend.
A source told Finke, "Summit didn’t like her. They’re saying the DP [director of photography] Elliot Davis is the one responsible for the film’s sumptuous visual look, that the editor Nancy Richardson had to save the film in post-production, and Summit thought Hardwicke’s [CAA] agent Beth Swofford was alternately ineffectual and hysterical. It certainly demonstrates, while CAA agents boast of their vast influence, how little clout and muscle they actually have, or are willing to use, to protect their artists."
New Moon is on a crash schedule to be ready for 2010 release and the third film in the series, Eclipse, is being considered for back-too-back shooting to contain costs and keep the cast looking eternally youthful. The sequel is expected to be more than twice as expensive given the special effects needs and cast salary raises.
The film continues to perform well at the box office despite a critical drubbing not dissimilar to the first Harry Potter film, which actually benefitted from a change in director.
Here’s the official release, rushed out by Summit:
SUMMIT BEGINS SEARCH FOR NEW MOON DIRECTOR
Los Angeles, CA, December 7, 2008 – Summit Entertainment and director Catherine Hardwicke jointly announced today that the filmmaker will not be directing the next installment in the newly minted TWILIGHT film franchise. Summit’s targeted end of 2009 or early 2010 release of the film, NEW MOON, does not work with Ms. Hardwicke’s required prep time to bring her vision of the film to the big screen. Thus as has been done before with many successful film franchises, the studio will employ a new director for NEW MOON.
"I am sorry that due to timing I will not have the opportunity to direct NEW MOON,” said Hardwicke. “Directing TWILIGHT has been one of the great experiences of my life, and I am grateful to the fans for their passionate support of the film. I wish everyone at Summit the best with the sequel– it is a great story."
“Catherine did an incredible job in helping us to launch the TWILIGHT franchise and we thank her for all of her efforts and we very much hope to work with her on future Summit projects,” said Erik Feig, Summit’s President of Production. “We as a studio have a mandate to bring the next installment in the franchise to the big screen in a timely fashion so that fans can get more of Edward, Bella and all of the characters that Stephenie Meyer has created. We are able to pursue an aggressive time frame as we have the luxury of only adapting the novels into screenplays as opposed to having to create a storyline from scratch.”