By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 20, 2009 at 9:05AM
There's been a good deal of speculation and spin surrounding why Catherine Hardwicke--who by any measure delivered the goods on Twilight, the first installment of Stephenie Meyer's bestselling vampire series--did not return for the sequel, New Moon. Summit hired Chris Weitz (Golden Compass) instead. The truth is, Hardwicke's reps were negotiating a deal with Summit. The deal fell apart over the return of Hardwicke's first assistant director boyfriend to the picture. Summit wasn't willing to commit to him. That, coupled with other issues having to do with time and money--Hardwicke was burned out and wanted more time to prep the script and the movie--dive-bombed her shot at directing the sequel. (Hardwicke was not available to comment on this.) Nonetheless, Summit is making nice with Hardwicke, confirming that she's directing another young femme-targeted book adaptation, Gayle Forman's If I Stay, set to be published this spring.
In this UCLA podcast with the Twilight cinematographer and editor, I am reminded how much Hardwicke brought to Twilight--insisting on a page-one rewrite of the script that had been developed at Paramount that hewed closer to Meyer's book. She complains about a lack of consistency in the producing of Twilight--she'd rather praise the producers of 13. One producer went off to make Marley and Me, she said. (That would be Karen Rosenfelt.) "Once the film was successful they thought, 'we need to hit the November 21 date next year, too.' Vampires are not supposed to age, a lot reasons. For me, I didn't have a script ready to go. Summit offered me another book, I think I'm going to do that," she told the crowd.