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Scott Mendelson

Scott Mendelson
Woodland Hills, California, United States
April 02
A ten-year Salon reader, Mendelson also has a film and politics blog/column at Mendelon's Memos: located at: He is also a free lance voice over artist and occasionally contributes film reviews for

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DECEMBER 7, 2008 10:02PM

Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke fired from New Moon.

Rate: 4 Flag

Fresh off the presses, although apparently it's been rumbling under the surface for awhile.  Director Catherine Hardwicke has been fired by Summit Entertainment for the production of the second book in the Twilight series, New Moon (the studio may decide to shoot parts 2 and 3 back to back, we'll see if they even touch the much loathed finale).  Certainly no one was praising the direction of the quick-kill blockbuster first entry in the series, but I'm usually all for creative continuity in franchises when it can be achieved.  Besides, although I've only seen the movie, from what I've been told by casual readers, this is the biggest book to movie quality upswing since The Bridges Of Madison Country.

Still, questions are abounding as to A) what caused this to occur, B) how much credit Hardwicke deserves for how good/bad Twilight turned out, and C) why the hell Summit announced this in the middle of an international press tour?  I can't imagine that Hardwicke is going to be too rosy for tomorrow's junket, although I'm assuming people already knew about this and this was just the public confirmation (to keep Hardwicke herself from breaking the news?).

As is always the case in these sudden situations, rumors are flying about Hardwicke's professional temperament on the set of her several movies as well as how much say she had in the final outcome of Twilight.  Of course, Hardwicke isn't one to mince words, so I imagine we'll get her version of the story soon enough unless there is a deal that requires everyone to play nice and smile for the cameras.

The next important question is who does Summit get to replace her.  No, for once, I'm not going to say Martin Campbell.  I am 100% certain that her replacement will also be a female, if only so Summit can avoid the understandable pr nightmare of firing a female director from a female-driven series and replacing her with a dude.  Still, the mind reels at the possibilities for stunningly inappropriate male directors for the teenage vampire romance series.  Paul Verhoeven?  Michael Mann?  Quentin Tarantino?  Woody Allen?

From a quality stand point, I'm all for someone like Kathryn Bigelow.  The second book is supposed to be more special effects intensive (with werewolves) and the third book is allegedly more action-based.   Obviously, she certainly has the chops.  Anything that gets her work is OK, and her new Iraq war action film, The Hurt Locker, is supposed to be fantastic.  For comic reasons, my vote goes for Lexi Alexander, purely so I can hear a gravel-voiced trailer guy/gal intone 'from the director of Green Street Hooligans and The Punisher: War Zone comes... New Moon.  But then I've always enjoyed the potential for awkward plugs ('from Warner Bros, the studio that brought you Natural Born Killers and Casablanca comes... Speed Racer!').

Still, it's always a shame when a director makes a lot of money for a studio and gets kicked in the butt for it regardless.  Maybe she and Richard Donner can bond (since he's thankfully not pulling a Richard Lester on Gavin Hood's X-Men Origins: Wolverine after all).

Speaking of which, we'll have a pretty good idea if Fox got their 'kid-friendly' Wolverine movie when we see the first trailer on Friday.  Of the big action tent poles, I'm pretty sure all that's left to tease is Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen.  Will Paramount wait till Christmas day and debut it with The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (a very expensive Oscar bait picture that needs all the box office help it can get)?

Scott Mendelson

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I knew a guy who used to date Catherine Hardwicke, and boy did he have some nasty things to say about her!
You haven't read the book, but you're writing about the transition to movie?
Not a good idea.
I'm generally more for Vonnegut than Vampires, but I was disappointed with the movie version of this book. All of the dynamic interactions between characters were reduced to a few shots of people jumping through trees. Important background on characters, which makes them understandable, full, endearing characters, was left out.

The rest of the series becomes more dramatically and emotionally complex. Yes there are werewolves, but most readers actually think New Moon is the lull in the series, not the final book. New Moon is all about the protagonist maturing emotionally, and other characters as well- Edward isn't even in most of it.

If so much life was sucked out of the first movie (pun intended), I was cringing at what would happen to subsequent movies. I honestly don't know enough female directors to name a good replacement, and I wonder if it really would be a PR problem if it wasn't a girl (does the product outweigh the politics? sometimes)

I'd love to see a Joe Wright version of the whole saga, considering how utterly girlie and wonderful Pride&Predjudice is.
Benjamin Button needs box-office help? Good Lord!
New Moon is my favorite of the whole series. I do agree, though Just Agirl, that the books should be read before any comments on the movie are made.

I loved the movie, if only for being able to see a small sliver of what the books meant to me in such a large capacity. :).
Just agirl, I'm totally with you on important background being left out, particularly when it comes to Bella's involvement in the plan to catch James. I had promised my friends I wouldn't comment during the movie so I just kept throwing my hands up in silent protest.

And Scott - you make bring up interesting options, but I'm pretty sure that if this were High School, you'd fail this paper for writing your it based on the movie version of the book and your friends notes. Sorry pal.
I've already written a review of the movie, as well as an essay debating the gender politics concerning the movie (you can find both on my blog on this site). As for the second book, I can only speak to what I've been told by fans, as I specifically stated in my article accordingly.

As for the first book, vs the first movie, I was basing my quality comparison from The New York Magazine, which did a piece entitled '28 reasons the movie is better than the book'. Much to my surprise, pretty much everything I genuinely enjoyed about the movie was stuff that was changed from the book, such as beefing up the supporting characters, adding the tree flying scene, the scene of the Cullens trying to cook, the establishment of the evil vampires in act one, etc.

Works cited -
Loving the works cited. Also loving that NY Mag article, I hadn't seen it. Makes some good points. I still think you should read the book though, it's a ridiculously quick read.
Well obviously this Hardwicke person must have had a positive influence on one Ms. Stewart. Why, I heard just today on the internet that she has turned to the devil weed, such is her distress.