Chris Weitz named to direct “Twilight” sequel “New Moon”

December 14, 2008

Hollywood (ChattahBox) — As rumored “The Golden Compass” director Chris Weitz will helm “New Moon,” the sequel to the smash vampire romance “Twilight.” The hiring of Weitz, whose credits also include “About A Boy” and “American Pie,” comes after that film’s director Catherine Hardwicke failed to reach a deal with producer Summit Entertainment.

It’s rare for the director of a successful first picture not to continue on with the sequel. There have been conflicting reports about Hardwicke’s departure, with some noting creative and other differences. Summit has said it was a matter of scheduling.

Summit recently has faced a public-relations challenge with Hardwicke’s departure, a mid-March production start date,not to mention the second movie appears to have little more than a rough first-draft working script. With only a slightly increased budget of $50 million and breakout lead actors to pay more, shoots in Italy, and shiny new special effects, Summit may have to have to cut corners somewhere. To calm fans nervous about the midstream switch, Stephenie Meyer, the author of the four-book series about young vampires and werewolves, wrote:

“I’m sad that Catherine is not continuing on with us for ‘New Moon,’ she wrote on her Web site, but then noted that, with Weitz: “Torches and pitchforks aren’t going to be necessary.” The director “is excited by the story and eager to keep the movie as close to the book as possible,” she wrote. “He is also aware of you, the fans, and wants to keep you all extremely happy.

Weitz said he had been “in a whirlwind romance” with the series over the past few days, and, in a particularly careful phrasing, said he is “very grateful to have received (Meyer’s) permission to protect ‘New Moon’ in its translation from the page to the screen.” He went on to say: “I promise to remain responsive to your hopes and fears,” he wrote in his own letter to fans Saturday. “I thank you for this opportunity and for your faith.”

Both Weitz’s and Meyer’s letters represent rare attempts to communicate with the public and speak both to the intense insider interest of devoted fans as well as the importance of that group to the franchise’s success.

Reported by: Hot Momma Celebrity Gossip


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