Russ brought you the rumor earlier today, and now it’s fact: David Slade has been hired to direct Eclipse, the third movie in the Twilight series. Some thoughts:

- Whatever else you think of Summit, I feel like their directorial hiring practices, while not groundbreaking, are at least interesting. Hardwicke, Weitz and now Slade are not simply shooters. We could argue their value all day (I actually like all of them to varying degrees), but this isn’t hiring Adam Shankman for your studio comedy.

- It’s interesting that Summit is hiring new directors for each film. I guess they had to hire someone new for Eclipse, as it will be prepping and shooting while New Moon is editing, but bringing on new helmers each time makes the series less of a whole. That’s especially true when you bring on David Slade; I’m imagining his style will be quite different from Chris Weitz’.

- What kind of a career move is this for Slade? Not sure. Hard Candy was great, while 30 Days of Night was, in my opinion, almost unmitigated garbage. I’ve been curious to see what his third feature would bring – more greatness or had he settled into being a garbageman? – but it’s hard to say if the third film in a tween-oriented series is a good way to judge the guy. I’m curious to attend the junket and find out what his spin is for signing on to this kind of a movie; I suspect ‘the money’ is the real answer – Slade’s been circling a number of films since 30 Days, but that movie wasn’t a big enough hit to allow him to take this long – but I want to know what the face-saving answer is.

And what does Eclipse do to Slade’s career? Does everybody just assume he needed to pay the mortgage and give him a pass? Will he shock us all and make a Twilight film worth seeing? Or will this just be the announcement of the hack phase of his career?

Here’s the press release where you get to read the platitudes everybody says about bringing Slade on board (there’s no quote from Slade):

Los Angeles, CA  April 22, 2009 – Summit Entertainment announced today that David Slade has been hired to direct THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE from a screenplay written by Melissa Rosenberg.  THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE, the third film in the studio’s TWILIGHT film franchise based on the Stephenie Meyer’s blockbuster book series, will be released theatrically in North America on Wednesday, June 30, 2010.  The announcement was made by Erik Feig, Summit’s President of Production.

Meyer stated, “I am thrilled that David Slade will be directing ECLIPSE. He’s a visionary filmmaker who has so much to offer this franchise. From the beginning, we’ve been blessed with wonderful directorial talent for the Twilight Saga, and I’m so happy that ECLIPSE will be carrying on with that tradition.”

Feig said, “Stephenie Meyer’s ECLIPSE is a muscular, rich, vivid book and we at Summit looked long and hard for a director who could do it justice.  We believe we have found that talent in David Slade, a director who has been able to create complex, visually arresting worlds.  We cannot wait to see the ECLIPSE he brings to life and brings to the fans eagerly awaiting its arrival in summer of 2010.”

Filmmaker Slade came to prominence as a director for his work on 2006’s engrossing film HARD CANDY starring Academy Award® Nominated actress Ellen Page as well as directing 2007’s genre hit 30 DAYS OF NIGHT which opened to number one at the box office its first weekend of release.

In ECLIPSE, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger as Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge.  In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob — knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf.  With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella is confronted with the most important decision of her life.

Slade is represented by William Morris Agency.