Nov 8, 2008 - Catherine Hardwicke began her career in films as a production designer working on such diverse movies as Vanilla Sky, Tombstone, Three Kings, and Laurel Canyon. Hardwicke stepped behind the camera to helm her first movie with the gritty coming of age drama Thirteen and has remained in the director's seat since that 2003 film. Directing Twilight has thrust her into the spotlight alongside her film's stars - Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart - and Hardwicke says she's ready to grab the reins of a bigger budgeted film (which could be New Moon), projects Twilight's director points out typically go to male directors.
Exclusive Interview with Director Catherine HardwickeThis has got to be crazy for you. How do you handle this extra pressure – or are you handling it?
Catherine Hardwicke: "I think I'm handling it. I mean in a way you just say, 'Okay, I've just got to do my job,' you know? And like up till 10 days ago my job was finishing the movie. And then the second I finished it, 'Okay, get on a plane and go to Spain and Rome and New York, come back and do this.' So I'm just kind of like, 'Okay, what am I supposed to do next?'"
You just finished it 10 days ago?
Catherine Hardwicke: "Yes, I think it's like 10 days or maybe two weeks. I don't know. Oh I guess I was in Spain, so it has to be about two and a half weeks. But, you know, we were literally doing prints and sound and everything. So that's… Well, when they moved up the release date…
That added a lot of extra pressure…
Catherine Hardwicke: "Yes, three weeks earlier. But that's good in a way because you're just working and crafting and trying to like carve it and polish it and make it as great as you can."
And there's a point when you know it's done, right? You just don't want to touch it again – it is what you want it to be.
Catherine Hardwicke: "Well, there's so many different stages. Like you have to lock picture it at a certain point so that you can start on the music, and so you can go and do scoring. So you have this date that we have to go to London and score, so the picture has to be locked. And then you have the date that the sound effects people have to work on it. So you kind of have to go down like, 'Okay, now lock picture on this date,' whether you like it or not. And it was pretty fast. And then sound and then music and then the effects and then… So it's kind of rigid when you have to do it."
Did they give you more effects money? Did they wind up giving you a little extra to do the effects that you wanted to do, especially with the shining skin?
Catherine Hardwicke: "I think they gave us…well, they'll never tell me in the end how much because they always pretend like you've already spent every penny had. But then you talk to somebody and they're like, 'Well we found this somewhere in the budget,' so I'm not really sure if they gave me any more. To be honest, they don't really open the books. But I think they probably had to give us a little bit more because when we had such disastrous weather conditions, like in the baseball, and now when you see the movie, the skies look consistent. It's like the stormy sky in every scene. But sometimes there would be just a whiteout, sometimes it would be storm clouds, sometimes it would be this, you know? So they had to pull some sequences together."
So with everything else you have riding on your shoulders, you had to balance the weather to shoot. That must have been really difficult.
Catherine Hardwicke: "Oh yes. Well that was really our worst thing. That was the most difficult situation we had because every day the call sheet would be, 'Okay, if it's raining we're shooting this. If it's sunny, we’re shooting this. If it's cloudy, we're shooting this.' You had to be ready for like three scenes. And then sometimes we would even burn out all of our sunny day scenes. On one day's notice we had to build a whole new set in a maintenance shed so we’d have another place to go if it was sunny again and we had to use that. So you were just like, 'Okay, keep my head together like the Rubik's Cube. Your brain would be like this computer pulling it together."
But how do you do that?
Catherine Hardwicke: "Well luckily, honestly I have like a math side and an art side. I one time had this wacky test at the University of Texas and they took all the architecture students and the engineering students and then they tested, 'Are you right brain or left brain,' and mine was like both. Like, 'Thank god!' you know? You've got to be artistic and you have to like every minute on the set you're like, 'Okay, I've got 10 minutes and the light's going down and if I don't get this single on her I'm not getting the scene.' But you still have to be sure that you're in the right mood, you're in the right intensity, you're back in that place, and I have to make the decision, 'Okay, I'm not going to get the single and I'll do it another way.' So every minute you're just like ch-ch-ch."
That sounds crazy.
Catherine Hardwicke: "It is. And this was a wild one because Kristen [Stewart] was a minor too, up until the last two weeks. So you start out with 10 1/2 hours, then you take the two hours driving one way, an hour each way to every location, then you've got the two hours in the chair – she had contacts, she had the hairpiece, the makeup. Then you have three hours of school and then you have lunch. It was five and a half hours I had her and she's in every scene. So that was its own just brutal challenge. I mean I was just kind of like, 'Well how did I get into this one?'"
And it was a short shooting schedule too.
Catherine Hardwicke: "It was only 44 days, which we first had 50 and then one day they just came to me and said – they first said, 'You cannot do this in 50 days. We don't believe you're going to get your movie made.' And, 'How can you convince us you can actually do it in 50 days?'"