Lawyer. Dreamer. Geek. Eternal optimist. Fangirl since the dawn of…
You might think you know Catherine Hardwicke, and chances are, you both do and you don’t.
Sure, Hardwicke directed the first Twilight movie, which makes her a more well-known name than most other female directors in this industry. But Hardwicke can hardly be called just that director from Twilight, and her story of going from production designer to award winning filmmaker cannot and should not be just boiled down to the fact that she once directed the adaptation of a much loved and much derided book.
All of this is why today, in the hopes of helping you learn more about Catherine, we’re making her one of our Friday filmmaker profiles.
1. Hardwicke started as a Production Designer
Hardwicke got her start in Hollywood by working as a production designer, on films like Tombstone (1993), Tank Girl (1995), 2 Days in the Valley (1996), The Newton Boys (1998), Three Kings (1999), Antitrust (2001), Vanilla Sky (2001) and Laurel Canyon (2002). She took this time to study the techniques of the directors she was working with, and ask for tips. She also taught herself Final Cut Pro, and took acting classes so she could become a better director.
2. She’s directed films, television episodes, and even music videos
Diversity is the name of the game for Catherine, who has directed the films Thirteen (2003), which she also co-wrote, and which won her the Sundance Film Festival Dramatic Directing Award, Lords of Dogtown (2005), The Nativity Story (2006), Twilight (2008), Red Riding Hood (2011), Plush (2013), which she also co-wrote, Miss You Already (2015), The Black Ghiandola (2017) and Miss Bala (2019). She’s also directed episodes of Reckless, Eyewitness, This is Us and is set to direct the Pilot of The Raven Cycle. On the music front, she directed the video for the song “There’s a Place” for the All-American Rejects, and “Til it Happens to You,” by Lady Gaga.
3. She helped launch a franchise with Twilight
It’s hard to think of the success of Twilight without thinking of Hardwicke, but not everyone knows how much she actually did to make the first movie happen, from adjusting to budgetary demands that seemed daunting, to having a hand in picking the actors who would go on to carry the franchise. And then, like it often happens, the force of the franchise would go on without her, as her totally understandable decision not to direct the second film (too tight a turnaround), would lead to a man taking the helm of a story written by a woman for women.
4. In ‘Miss Bala’ Hardwicke assembled an almost all-latinx Team
Hardwicke isn’t just talking the talk when it comes to diversity, she’s walking the walk, and in her most recent film, Miss Bala, she not only filmed in Tijuana (a rarity, even for films set in Mexico), she also assembled a team that was overwhelmingly not just latinx, but Mexican, disproving the notion that it can’t be done that Hollywood continues to try to sell.
5. Hardwicke is a female filmaker
And she’s been treated in her career like, well, a female filmmaker, reaching some of the highest highs and still not being recognized like she deserves. But that doesn’t mean we can’t lead the way in pushing not just for diversity, but for appreciation of what Hollywood has dismissed, and that people like Catherine Hardwick, who’ve been paving the way for women for long, shouldn’t now get the credit they deserve.
Know any other female filmmakers you think should be featured for our #FemaleFilmmakerFridays series? Let us know in the comments below!
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Lawyer. Dreamer. Geek. Eternal optimist. Fangirl since the dawn of time. Hates the color yellow, olives and cigarettes. Has a recurring nightmare where she’s forced to choose between sports and books. Falls in love with fictional characters.