published on June 2, 2011|
As I experienced the revelatory 2003 indie "Thirteen" for the first time, I was in awe of the painfully accurate script and career defining performance from Evan Rachel Wood. But it was during repeat viewings that I noticed how the movie's color story perfectly matched the movie's emotional story.
The film bathes the bright and sunny Tracy in equally perfect light during the first half -- but as the teenager descends into a world or sex, drugs and debauchery, the film too begins to look worse for the wear. Dingy fluorescent lights replace the flattering halos and our eyes unconsciously prepare out hearts for the madness that's to come.
It was an ingenious move on director Catherine Hardwicke's part and her flair for treating the big screen like an artist's canvas has found another worthy muse: "Red Riding Hood." The stunning film hits Special Edition DVD on June 14 and I recently got to speak with the visionary about this enchanting adventure, how long nights editing spawned many of the quirky special features and why she's stoked about returning to those indie roots!
PopWrap: Before we get started, I simply have to say that "Thirteen" is one of my favorite movies and Evan Rachel Wood's Oscar snub is one of the most egregious in history.
Catherine Hardwicke: Thank you -- and I agree! [laughs] It is wrong that she didnt get nominated. That girl was only 14 years old, we gave her one or two takes, is in every scene shes excellent in every single moment.
PW: Ok, with that out of the way, I know this was a rather hectic production, so how do you feel about "Red Riding Hood" with a little bit of distance?
Catherine: It was a very wild ride. You spend months trying to get a movie made and from the moment they said yes we had a very compacted, tight schedule. They cut a third of our schedule in post-production -- after we wrapped, they said, it has to be out on this date! We couldnt even take a breath. It was one of the most exhausting things Ive ever done 110 hour work weeks just to get the movie finished. In a way, I never had time to take stock of what just happened. So Im looking forward to watching the movie again and seeing it now that I have a little more time. Like every filmmaker I would have loved to have had more time to finesse it, live with it a bit more. I wish I could have, but there was a schedule I had to keep.
PW: The movie hits DVD being marketed as "Red Riding Hood: The Alternate Cut." To me that says the director wasnt happy with its theatrical release. Any truth to that?
Catherine: Oh no, not at all thats not it. When youre editing, you try to be as creative as possible until the very end. You want to inject vibrancy and life into the project, every step of the way. The alternate cut is not a radically different movie. The ending is something that was very spontaneous on set one day. We just thought, lets try this! It was fun and I liked it, but ultimately I thought the theatrical ending probably worked better for most audiences but this gives you a fun, last twist alternative. A little sexier, but it was my choice to put the other one in theaters.
PW: And there are also deleted scenes -- a lot?
Catherine: Theres not many I wish there were more. We shot at such a rapid pace, on a tight budget and in the end, we didnt shoot more than was needed. I mean, one is 20 seconds and no dialogue. Theres still lots of fun insights there, but its not like we have oodles.
PW: I was also pleasantly surprised to see a Gag Reel on there -- something I feel like dramatic directors don't embrace as often as they should. I mean, who wouldn't want to see a "Schindler's List" Gag Reel?
Catherine: I wanna see that! [laughs] Its funny because I had that dilemma on Twilight and I didn't end up putting the Gag Reel on the DVD, but this one has some fun stuff mostly in regards to working on a period movie. Clanking around in the armor. Getting stuck on walls. Its goofy fun stuff that I thought people would like.
PW: I'm curious about the other Bonus Feature called "Red Riding Hood" in 73 Seconds. Is it really what it sounds like?
Catherine: [laughs] Yea, that was another idea that came to me in the middle of the night during one of my 110 hour workweeks. I just thought, how fun would it be to see if I could tell the whole movie in less than two minutes. Its sped up, and then stops for a line. Then speeds up to another line. You kind of get the major plotpoints in 73 seconds.
PW: I'm a huge Amanda Seyfried fan and think she's great here -- but I actually left the theater talking about Max Irons. Another great discovery from the woman who made Robert Pattinson a star. Did you know he was your guy from the jump?
Catherine: It was pretty amazing. Amanda and I were in London for casting and Max was the first guy to walk in the room. Of course hes 6 3 and beautiful but also disarmingly self-deprecating. Totally hilarious and charming. Its amazing that hes even real [laughs]. Instantly we thought he was too good to be true. Hes impossible NOT to like. But we werent sure if he could play the bad boy so he was kind of perfect for Henry. Hes just stunning on every level.
PW: IMDB, that fountain of misinformation, claims your next project will be "Freeheld" -- a drama about Stacie Andree and her police detective girlfriend Laurel Hester, who both battled to secure Hesters pension benefits after she was diagnosed with a terminal illness -- starring Ellen Page. True?
Catherine: I dont know where thats coming from but of course, I wish it was true. I wish I could get financing for that movie. I love that project, Ellen is awesome and we have a beautiful script. But as always the challenge for an indie film is getting someone to pay for this unique, different and daring vision. I dont think its going to be my next movie. Or at least it doesnt look likely.
PW: So what will be next for you?
Catherine: I think its a movie that will be shot in Europe its back to my raw indie roots. I cant say what it is, but its wild. Well probably announce it in a few weeks so keep your eyes out.
PW: Now that you've sort of dabbled in both indie & studio fare, do you have a preference?
Catherine: Its so interesting because there is something wonderful about both sides. Working for a studio, youve got all the support of these executives, marketing people, beautiful sound facilities and all the equipment. But you also have a lot of input from those executives who are busy on all their other projects. Juggling release dates is difficult. They want a movie to come out this day!So you have a beautiful machine to work within. With indie film, you have nobody telling you anything. No one says dont make it R rated or make that character nicer! I'm free to do what I want to do, but in that freedom comes no money which is why my car, furniture and clothes are in Thirteen! [laughs] After doing a few studio films in a row, I want to do another indie I think its good for the soul to struggle a bit. To make something out of nothing.