I’m starting to feel genuinely bad for Catherine Hardwicke. After Nikki Finke reported that Hardwicke has indeed been fired — or not retained — by Summit as director of the next Twilight film, New Moon, Summit issued a press release confirming her departure. The official line is that Hardwicke’s plans for the second film require more time than exists before Summit’s planned release window.

There have been many other reports of possible reasons, such as irrational and/or difficult behavior (which are always so easy to perpetuate, but nebulous and based on context) or simply the fact that Twilight‘s first weekend take didn’t stretch into later weeks. The result is the same: time to hire a new helmer.

There were a lot of things I didn’t like about Twilight, but as I’ve mentioned, the few bits I did genuinely enjoy seemed to come directly from Hardwicke, and I was interested to see what she could do with the next film. Now we’re more likely to get a follow-up with better/more ‘realistic’ effects and a more direct translation of Stephanie Meyer’s story. Given the werewolf angle in flick #2 I can live with that.

But with Twilight representing the biggest opening ever by a female director, let’s see what shitstorm erupts should Summit go with a male director. Wonder what Kathryn Bigelow is doing in the wake of the Summit-distributed The Hurt Locker?