Monday, December 8, 2008

Analysis of Catherine Hardwicke's Removal

Catherine Hardwicke (director, Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown, Twilight)

Some new articles have come out regarding Catherine Hardwicke no longer taking up the torch of director in the next two films New Moon and Eclipse in the Human-Vampire love story: Twilight. (By the way I'm seeing Let The Right One In tomorrow and I'll tell you how it compares.)

Variety has come out with an article about said subject. Also there has been an official statement from Summit Entertainment. I will analyze both the article and the statement to try and discover the truth, along with the information provided in my last blog. Generally, though, if you don't want to sit through all the rest of this mumbo-jumbo I'll give you the low-down in a short paragraph:

I've lost my faith in Summit Entertainment to carry on the series (and have seriously considered boycotting the next two films but I don't want to pass judgment on something I have not seen). Summit Entertainment was cool for being so unlike the other major studies, staying so true (in my opinion and Stephanie Meyer's) to Twilight the novel in spirit. Stephanie Meyer has expressed that she feared for the book being translated to film when she got back the first script from Paramount Pictures which consisted of JET SKIS! Big no-no. She went to a few other studios but turned them down until she came around Summit Entertainment with whom she was comfortable with. I've hardly seen an author backing a film adaptation and studio so wholeheartedly and I can trust Stephanie Meyer. In trusting her and in trusting Summit Entertainment I can put trust in Catherine Hardwicke and her decisions, especially after I enjoyed the first film so much. So why would Summit Entertainment want to have a parting of the ways with Hardwicke because she wants to develop the story more instead of rushing it to theaters?

Variety Article:
Summit Entertainment has wasted no time moving ahead with the next installment in Stephenie Meyer's bestselling "Twilight" series, "New Moon." But in an unusual move after the successful launch of a franchise that has already generated $138.6 million, the upstart distrib is not bringing director Catherine Hardwicke back to direct the picture. Summit and Hardwicke cite Summit's wish to rush the movie into production as one reason for their split. Summit wants to release the picture, which will demand substantial CGI work, by the end of 2009 or the start of 2010. A former production designer, Hardwicke wanted more prep time.

My Analysis: Note that Hardwicke is "a former production designer." The reason the writer of the article puts this in there is to credit that Hardwicke knows exactly what she's talking about! Summit is solely after the money this franchise can clearly offer them. Why not? It's enticing. What's more, they know they can make a lot of money on a low, shoddy budget. I'll admit, Hardwicke's strongest suit was not on how she dealt with visual effects but man, I think, she handled directing those actors very well. But, for Summit to want to release the film next year is preposterous especially with the shape shifters in the next film. It takes well over a year to get some decent pieces of CGI and Hardwicke clearly understands this but Summit Entertainment just won't listen. Just as the article said, Summit is "rush"ing the film. Rushing anything is always bad, especially a multi-million dollar motion picture. I sure hope Summit can find a hell of a director to achieve something half-way decent within the time constraints.

Robert Pattinson (actor, Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire, Twilight), Kristen Stewart (actress, Into The Wild, Twilight), Catherine Hardwicke
"Twilight" scripter Melissa Rosenberg handed in a draft of "New Moon" the weekend that "Twilight" opened. Hardwicke wanted more time to work on it; Summit announced it was going ahead with "New Moon" on November 22, with no director attached. Negotiations lasted two weeks before Hardwicke formally passed on the film Saturday.My Analysis: Good job Hardwicke! Pass on a film that would rush the creative process! Again, it is reiterated that Harwicke wanted more time to work on it, this time on script, not just the CGI, which to me, is much more important than special effects and is what carried Twilight even though it had less than spactacular effects.

As word spread through Hollywood agencies that the talks might not result in Hardwicke'sHardwicke, who delivered the biggest opening weekend ever for a woman. (CAA denies that they were soliciting other directors.) The movie is still going strong as the director and cast promote it overseas; it came in second this weekend with $13.2 million, grossing a total $138.6 million return, reports surfaced that Summit was checking out other directors for the "Twilight" franchise while they insisted they were still negotiating with .

My Analysis: Again, Summit is being a big jerk. Going behind Harwicke, looking for other directors, while they were negotiating because they had to get the film out that fast.

The problem that stalled negotiations was that Hardwicke had strong opinions about what to do with the next installment, and so did Summit. The debate was how to focus the adaptation of the second book, which deals more with giant werewolves than vampires, as well as the long depression of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), after her vampire lover (Rob Pattinson) leaves her. One issue was how to get more of teen heartthrob Pattinson into the film. (Rosenberg has figured out a device to achieve this.) But Hardwicke, burned out from her "Twilight" labors, simply wasn't willing to jam this movie with a script that still needed months of development.

My Analysis and Theory: What I think this is implying is that Summit and Melissa Rosenberg have found a way to adapt the novel to the film to give Rob Pattinson (the heartthrob of 2008) more screen time. I think Hardwicke was initially going along with the idea but felt it was underdeveloped. Summit didn't want to hear about it and didn't want to take the time to "develop" it and made the decision to go without Hardwicke and her "high demands". So not only will we have no Hardwicke for the next two films but we may have a crappy adaption because why? Summit is rushing.

"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 Summit production prexy Erik Feig. "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."

My Analysis: They, Hardwicke and Summit, are trying to split on good terms but I just know it was so heated between them. And I don't buy Summit's explanation that they "have a mandate to bring the next installment in the franchise to the big screen in a timely fashion" because really they are saying they "have a mandate to rush the installment to theaters so they can cash in quick." God I hate when studios try to play it up all happy-go-lucky. When Warner Brothers announce the push back for Harry Potter they tried to look at the bright side, that we would have a shorter wait between Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows Part I. This, at least, I can deal with. At least it's not tampering with the direct project, but what Summit is doing with New Moon and Eclipse is just unforgivable (which can only be forgiven by two awesome films which I doubt they can pull off in a year).

Hardwicke has other balls in the air, including two projects in the works with Groundswell Entertainment's Michael London, who produced "Thirteen."

My Analysis: Glad Hardwicke can move on :-D

Summit Statement:
As most of you have already heard, Catherine Hardwicke will not be returning to direct NEW MOON.

Summit and Catherine worked hard to make schedules work, but ultimately the decision to bring the fans the next chapter as soon as possible would not fit with Catherine's schedule.


We will miss Catherine's involvement, but please know that Summit and Stephenie Meyer will make sure the next director to take the reins will have the same devotion and respect for the property and the fans.

It is our priority at Summit to make sure the TWILIGHT saga proceeds with the fans in mind.

We appreciate the overwhelming support you have given us, and look forward to working with you on NEW MOON.

Thank you!

My Analysis: I'm calling B.S. right now! B.S.! B.S.! B.S.! Summit did not work hard to keep Catherine. Obviously since they were looking for directors while they were negotiating! Just because they just had to rush the film so it could be released by next year or early 2010. Lies! Lies! Lies! Summit gets a little money and they begin to act just like all the other major studies! Gargh! It makes me so angry.

Now I'm not angry so much now because they are not continuing the series with Hardwicke, but because they are obviously rushing the series which will suck even more because they have to fill in this new director in three months time before they shoot while they had Hardwicke who was already hardwired into the series.

Peace :(


Chicago Sun-Times
Hot ''Twilight'' stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are hot under the collar -- unhappy their director, Catherine Hardwicke, won't be back to direct them in ''New Moon,'' the next film based on Stephenie Meyer's second novel in her megabest-selling vampire love story.

''They are both very upset,'' a good Hollywood source told me Monday. ''They are committed to doing at least the next 'Twilight' film -- and probably the one after that -- but they really wanted to do them with Catherine.''

Stewart in particular, is furious about it, reportedly telling a close associate, ''I sure hope they don't f--- it up,'' referring to the "New Moon" movie.

The genesis of the actors' anger comes from a feeling the film studio -- Summit Entertainment -- is far too eager to rush out the second ''Twilight'' flick, without prepping for it properly, as Stewart and Pattinson believed Hardwicke would do.

Already, the ''Twilight'' movie has pulled in nearly $140 million at the box office -- a little more than two weeks after its Nov. 21 release. Snaring $69 million that opening weekend, ''Twilight'' represented the biggest opening for a woman director in history.

Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg submitted her draft of ''New Moon'' the weekend ''Twilight'' opened. Summit wanted to start production on the second film early next year. Hardwicke believed more time was needed to carefully adapt the second book.

Summit's production president, Erik Feig, told the Hollywood trades the studio appreciated Hardwicke's ''incredible job'' in launching the film franchise, but ''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.''

Translation: Let's get that cash flowing!

Let's just hope fans of the Meyer books won't be treated to a cheesy sequel.

More articles on the issue from the LA Times: Here and Here

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