Back when everyone was celebrating the fact that Twilight‘s Catherine Hardwicke had pulled in more box office dough than any female director before her, we didn’t really feel anything. Not because of anything she’d done, but rather because she was a symbol of all the truths we don’t like about Hollywood, and by extension, American culture; a female filmmaker with plenty of talent (as evidenced by Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown) who only became a buzz-worthy success when she sold out, embraced mainstream audiences and created the kind of flick that gets 13-year-old girls and their moms all hot and bothered about some vampire named Edward.
It just made us sad.
But now that she’s been removed from New Moon, the next film in the lucrative franchise, we find ourselves even more put out. Was Summit Entertainment just using Hardwicke for her street cred, only to toss her aside once they’d sucked her dry (and let her find Robert Pattinson, arguably the pretty face that’s given this thing legs)? And why let this news leak while Hardwicke is running around Europe, doing press for the first movie? Putting her in front of reporters immediately after receiving that kind of news seems rather spiteful.
According to Variety, the problem is that Hardwicke needed too much time to get the next film ready: “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.”
Maybe it’s the women’s studies classes we took in college, but it’s hard to imagine the same thing happening to Chris Columbus after the first Harry Potter flick. And then there are these juicy tidbits revealed by Nikki Finke on Deadline Hollywood Daily.
“The word from inside Summit is that Hardwicke, the acclaimed Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown and The Nativity Story director, ‘was ‘difficult’ and ‘irrational’ during the making of Twilight,’ one insider explains to me. ‘That doesn’t mean anything when you’re talking about a filmmaker because they all are, but still…'”
Difficult. Irrational. Maybe you think we’re jumping the gun, but all we know is if Summit doesn’t pick a female replacement for Hardwicke (we suggest Kathryn Bigelow, who has done the vampire thing before), then they are going to leave a seriously bad taste in our mouths, and to quote the original film’s tagline, nothing will be the same. Because if there’s one thing we find more annoying than an indie filmmaker selling out, it’s an indie filmmaker who has already sold out and is left with nothing good to show for it (looking at you, David Gordon Green).