Interview: Catherine Hardwicke, director of Red Riding Hood

Catherine Hardwicke headshotProduction designer turned director Hardwicke has been the vision behind a handful of stylized, well-known movies since her feature directorial debut, 2003’s controversial Thirteen. Hardwicke’s other films include 2005’s Lords of Dogtown and 2008’s Twilight, the success of which launched her into the stratosphere as the most commercially successful female director in Hollywood.

Disc Dish spoke to filmmaker Catherine Hardwicke about the Blu-ray/DVD Combo, Blu-ray and DVD of her fantastical, horror-flavored Red Riding Hood, a 2011 movie re-imagining of the classic fairy tale, starring Amanda Seyfried (Chloe).

In talking about the treasure trove of bonus features on the Red Riding Hood Blu-ray, Ms. Hardwicke showed herself to be enthusiastic, perceptive and even a bit silly.

Disc Dish: The Red Riding Hood Blu-ray is overflowing with so many supplements that we didn’t know where to begin!

Catherine Hardwicke: Yes it is, thank you! I guess I was really thinking about filmmakers when we put it together. As a filmmaker, I always appreciate the bonus materials on DVDs and Blu-rays. I learn so much while I watch the making-ofs. So I thought to myself, ‘Let me put on some weird stuff that I usually don’t see on there.’

DD: Were there any specific discs that you looked at that directly influenced the making of Red Riding Hood?

Red Riding Hood

Amanda Seyfried is Red Riding Hood.

CH: With this film, I was kind of venturing into the CGI world, which I hadn’t done before. So I was looking at the behind-the-scenes features on 300 and The Matrix as much as I could.

DD: You cover all that CGI work in the Red Riding Hood bonus materials.

CH: We do, yes. My first jobs were with visual effects companies, and I’ve always been intrigued by the idea that you can’t always afford to build the whole set as you see it in your mind. So with the proper [visual effects], you can do all the things that you want to do as an architect or designer. That’s what the case was in Red Riding Hood; we had to create our own fantasy world, with visual extensions that make the world extend into the horizon.

DD: You didn’t have to visually manipulate Amanda Seyfried, did you?

CH: (laughs) Oh no! Look at those eyes and that beautiful skin. I would never touch that!

DD: The three extended rehearsal sequences among the supplements were something we don’t see that often.

CH: I can’t say that I even thought about putting in the rehearsals and the castings tapes early on. I just sort of went with it. The actors saw us filming things when they were rehearsing and they went with it, too. The rehearsals that we put in weren’t dramatic. I think if we had filmed a super heavy dramatic scene, it would have been a distraction to the actors.

DD: The alternate cut of the movie is another prominent extra on the discs.

CH: Yes. On the spur of the moment when you’re shooting, you get a crazy idea and say, ‘Let’s try this!’ Some of the shots in the alternate cut are of those spur of the moment ideas. I like both versions, but the one I put in the theater was the right one for that audience. The alternate one was a little sexier and a little edgier. It’s definitely worth seeing.

DD: And then there’s the “Red Riding Hood in 73 Seconds” piece, which is a lot of fun.

CH: (laughs) 73 seconds, yes! I came up with that one night while we were working on it. I wanted it to actually be 60 seconds, but it came out being 73.

DD: You’re like a sorceress with all these tricks and spells that can be activated with the touch of a few buttons.

CH: That’s funny, isn’t it? But I’d love to be a sorceress.

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.