Can a studio create a new ‘Twilight’ (and could someone like Amanda Seyfried be the new Kristen Stewart)?
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Maybe the only people who embrace ‘Twilight’ and ‘New Moon’ more than Twi-hards are Hollywood executives, who have been feverishly trying to develop the next ‘Twilight,’ or at least re-position movies they have as the second coming of same. (Universal tried that a few months ago with a movie called ‘Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant,’ which didn’t work out so well.)
Now Warner Bros. appears to be making strides toward getting its own Gothic story of werewolves and young-woman-in-peril closer to the screen -- and with the director of ‘Twilight,’ no less.
The company has been developing a movie called ‘The Girl With the Red Riding Hood,’ a modern-day spin on the Brothers Grimm story from Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company, since last year. In December, the studio entered a holding deal -- basically an arrangement in which the director and studio commit to each other exclusively for a set period of time -- with Catherine Hardwicke, the filmmaker behind ‘Twilight’ who parted ways with the studio for ‘New Moon.'As that deal comes due this month, it’s increasingly looking like ‘Girl With the Red Riding Hood’ will move forward with Hardwicke. There’s also plenty of other momentum: The studio has a new version of the script, which ‘Orphan’ writer David Johnson has been working on the last several months. And producers are starting to go out to cast, with Amanda Seyfried -- fresh off her ‘Dear John’ turn and with at least one girl-oriented dark role, ‘Jennifer’s Body,’ under her belt -- one of the few names the studio would like to hook.
The story is an update of Little Red Riding Hood, with the requisite dark/dangerous/romantic elements that can appeal to ‘Twilight’ fans -- while also attracting audiences who simply like the fairy tale. (The script has gotten high marks from power players around town, who describe it as elevated genre material a la this weekend’s ‘Shutter Island.’) True, ‘Riding Hood’ doesn’t have Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner or Robert Pattinson playing Bella, Jacob or Edward -- but then those stars were made by ‘Twilight,’ not the other way around.
The biggest thing working against the Warner Bros. movie may be that that it doesn’t derive from Stephenie Meyer’s global bestsellers but from the work of a couple of German academics circa the early 19th century. But when it comes to finding the next ‘Twilight,’ these may be mere details.