A TwilightersAnonymous.com fan interpreted the Chris Weitz new director of New Moon announcement letter and it is hysterical. Just for a fun read and into the mind of a fan!
The Chris Weitz letter – Summary, Insights and a Translation by a cynical mind!
Christmas Eve 2008 (a little late) – Seasons Greetings!!
Okay fellow TA-ers!! So, as you know Indie-film Girl Director Catherine Hardwicke has been given the proverbial boot from the New moon Directors chair – Despite the $70 million or so she made – make of that what you will friends - and instead we have ‘All-American (Pie!)’ Director Chris Weitz. As a Sop to Cerberus – a favour to the great and dangerous beast known as the ‘Twilight fandom’ – we have recieved a rather snivelling little ditty penned allegedly by the man himself. However, those among you who – like me – are prone to look on the more cynical side of life – here is the reality behind the gushing admissions of love and heartfelt admiration of the Twilght Story
Prologue – The premace of Weitz as director
From the below cited reference, Summit wanted Weitz because “….they liked the look of the Golden Compass” Now, Weitzs’ direction I am sure contributed to that look but let’s face it. The look is also the responsibility of other parties such as the Director of Photography, production team, the costume designer, set dresser, CGI company – to mention but a few. Yes-Yes! I hear you cry! But the Director ‘directs’ the Cinematographer etc etc. Still and all there are many people involved in ‘the look’ of the film…. so hiring just one may allow for a certain ‘raised-eyebrow’ or two among us cynics! Also personally I preferred the look of the Lord of the rings Trilogy myself and therefore why not ask Peter Jackson? I am sure you can all think of directors who might fit the bill of having “directed a successful fantasy film (errr…not that Golden Compass was) and who have worked with a cast in their early twenties? Point made? Let us thus move on.
There is clearly a concern that ‘The Fans’ will not be pleased to see Mr Weitz Captaining the New Moon Ship. Why else pen such a letter? Is it an admission that the the film will be made ‘for the fans’ rather than for general consumption? Aren’t most book adaptations anyway? Perhaps so, but clearly Summit reaspects the fan-base enough (not least because of that aforementioned $70 million opening wekend I have no doubt) to want to offer some justification for the selection. Of course the fact that Weitz has a powerful friend on the inside has nothing to do with it!! He wants to convince us of his genuine appreciation of the Twilight and New Moon stories (no mention of Eclipse or Breaking Dawn I note…. I wonder if he has managed those in “those past few days of his whirlwind romance”) and to reassure us fans that he is invested in the tale and the characters that mean so much to us – despite that investment being so sudden. Thus we have a concise and seemingly heartfelt plea for our faith and to gve him a chance. Below I shall offer the ‘Secret – Secret’ Translation of said letter from the cynic’s eye-view in the hope to amuse. I find it rather strange..no…not the right word, rather repugnant…no…still not right…’strangely repugnant’ that the author has ‘given her endorsement’ to him as director. Well..no pressure then Chris!!
The Letter – and a Translation
“Dear fans of Twilight, New Moon, Bella, Edward and Jacob”
Errr..there are more books in the series?? Dang!!
“In the past few days I have been involved in a whirlwind romance with Stephanie Meyer’s extraordinary books.”
If you had asked me a fortnight ago what Twilight was – I’d have told you it was “my favourite time of day…cocktail hour!” The only extraordinary thing about these books is just how popular they really are. Do you like my use of the metaphor ‘whirlwind romance’? Rather fitting with the story isn’t it! Ha! Who sayes I am not in-touch with my feminine side?!
“I am very grateful to have received [Stephanie’s] permission to protect ‘New Moon’ in its translation from the page to the screen.”
This amazes me given I am best known for my association with teen comedy. She obviously didn’t see the box-office figures for “The Golden Compass”
“For fans of the books and of the film of Twilight, this may come as an unexpected twist.”
I realise some of the book fans hated the film and vice-versa. I know there are a lot of you so I don’t wish to insult you by lumping you all together in the same bracket. I also know that a lot of you know who I am and have seen the utter cock-up I made of “The Golden Compass”.
“So I want to briefly put you at ease and, and to give you reason to hope for and expect the best.”
Please Please PLEASE! Try and forget that “The Golden Compass” was such a disaster that it’s sequels would never be made.
“For the last decade of my career as a director, I have chosen to make adaptations of complex and involved works of literature.”
I like to think of myself as a “serious” director and I’d like to convince you of that too. Please try to remember I am Cambridge-educated and disregard the fact I had to make a name for myself making great epics such as “Antz” and “American Pie”, not to mention “Down to Earth” with Chris Rock! (Yes very complex works of literature) Whilst “About a Boy” did reasonably well, it was only nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay! Not exactly the kudos of Best Director now is it? And we did not win! Therefore I quickly moved on to Phillip Pullmans cult classic “Northern Lights”… Ugh-Hum! Which failed as a film NOT because it was too complex for my abilities, but the whole religious hysteria that surrounded it and this is completely the authors fault and not mine!
“This has always begun with the love of a book and its characters, story and theme; and it has always involved a respect of and responsiveness to the feelings of other people who loved those books.”
Apart from in this case as I read the book only after the film was offered to me by my mate. My respect stems from the two-fold fact that a) there are a lot of you and I do not wish to be publicly criticised for ending the pospects of another cult-classic series’ transition to film and b) the dollar value attached is substantial and if I mess up – even my mate won’t employ me again!
“When I saw the film of ‘Twilight’ … I was struck by the extraordinary passion for the characters, story and theme that was evident in the people sitting in the seats around me. My job is to live up to that devotion.”
I was forced to watch it after getting offered the New Moon gig. Not my cup-of-tea but you seem to like it. Plus I was pretty shocked at the number of adults who watched it. Teenage fads come and go but alienate an adult audience and it’s ‘goodbye career!’ I am now feeling the weight of responsibility.
“Like many of you, I am a fan of Catherine Hardwicke’s work. I can’t really say much about why she is not doing ‘New Moon’ because I wasn’t involved in those decisions.”
Err…they sacked her not me! And I PROMISE it isn’t because my mate wanted to help me out after the Golden Compass disaster! Honest! I have to admit she managed to do a pretty good job of it given the paltry budget and soppy material she had to work with. Not bad…for a girl!
“But all I can say is I will devote myself to making the very best and most faithful version of New Moon that can be brought to the screen.”
I heard a lot of the criticism for the first film stemmed around the deviations from the book. Therefore New Moon will be long – and dull for the most part. Because that is what you want so you will only have yourselves to blame when Rob – what’s-his-name isn’t in it enough!
“To those of who doubt that as a male director I can capture Bella’s experience, I can only say that emotion is universal and that my work has often involved working with some of the most talented young actresses in the world.”
Just because I am a bloke and have made teen-junk films and trash comedy in the past…I have an emotional side too. Those ‘talented actresses’ include the girl who was Willow on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sharon Stone on Antz and Nicole Kidman of ‘Stepford Wives’ don’t you know. Essentially.” I am down with the kids!”
“For the rest, the proof will have to be in the pudding. But I promise to remain responsive to your hopes and fears.”
No-not apple pie…Oh for God’s sake stop with the “American Pie” jokes!!
In a nutshell this letter says…”I know there are a lot of you and most of you are older than 12 and have a brain and are not going to be satisfied with the kind of tripe I have made in the past. My mate gave me the job but I am actually a bit scared because I don’t wish to be lynched or publicly tarred - and - feathered should I proffer something that is more ‘American-Pie’ than ‘Twilight’!! Therefore I am trying to placate you with a sappy letter full of colourful adjectives in an attempt to convince you of my devotion to a story I only read this weekend!!”
Interestingly, whilst researching this I found an interesting article about the Golden Compass and it’s subsequent backlash
“…Hanna Rosin wrote about Weitz’s evident frustrations in making the film. (After he first agreed to do it, he dropped out, fearing either the Christian Right or the atheist followers of the book, then changed his mind again, then alarmed fan boys by basically telling them that he was going to water everything down to please his studio masters.) Rosin’s article was well reported and even-keeled; it was a detailed look at how Weitz was trying to make a film that was both faithful to the book and a financial success. He’ll be (falsely) remembered as failing to dilute the book’s atheism enough; what was left of the story, supposedly, was still enough to repel the average Christian.”
Could this be an insight into the character and Directorial ‘backbone’ – or lack thereof – of the man now responsible for New Moon?? Is this what we can expect?
In response to this Weitz penned a letter which was labelled “hysterical, badly written, petulant, clumsily sarcastic and highschoolish!” I am not going to repeat it here but it can be found in the link below.
This article – whilst meant to amuse and entertain – also voices some serious concerns I have over the making of New Moon. Stephanie’s cool and up-beat endorsement of him serves only to deepen these concerns I am afraid. Look – what do I know of filmmaking? Nothing! But I can read. The disaster of Golden Compass and the subsequent handling of it, coupled with his lack of insight as reflected not only by this simpering letter but also by his film resume leave one wondering if like the book, New Moon may end up being our least favourite film?