Summit confirmed this morning that, as the rumor mill in Hollywood has been churning for weeks, "Dreamgirls" director Bill Condon will come on to direct the fourth installment in the "Twilight" franchise, no doubt prompting an unlikely spike in "Gods & Monsters" DVD sales among teenage girls. (Condon's name was first reported as a "Breaking Dawn" candidate back in March by Entertainment Weekly.)
Condon has generally been thought of as the more logical choice, at least compared to some of the other directors under consideration, like Sofia Coppola and Stephen Daldry.
In making the choice, Summit, which has gone for a different type of director for each film in the franchise, clearly wanted someone with more Oscar chops (Condon's won one and been nominated for a second). That's both because the "Breaking Dawn" material is a little more complicated than the previous books and because with the franchise already an unstoppable juggernaut, they can afford to take a risk, at least a small one.
So what kind of teen-vampire fable will the man responsible for "Dreamgirls," "Gods & Monsters" and "Kinsey" make? None of his previous directing credits are obvious analogues to this movie (though the initial frenzy over him as a candidate was a little baffling; good filmmakers reinvent themselves all the time. And it's nothing compared to Rob Marshall, another man known for musicals, taking on "Pirates of the Caribbean 4").
Each of Condon's directorial films (he also wrote "Chicago," but we'll leave that one out) contains a strand that can be put front and center in "Breaking Dawn" if the director chose (some spoilers ahead if you're not familiar with the novel).
"Dreamgirls," for all its pomp, centers on the larger world persecuting an anointed one, a neat parallel to the ordeal faced by Bella's child. It also tells a sprawling story from several perspectives, as the "Breaking Dawn" novel does.
"Monsters," which tells of the personal and creative trouble of "Bride of Frankenstein" director James Whale, could come in handy if Condon wanted to explore the demons that come from within, a plight particularly faced by Bella throughout the series.
And a "Kinsey" influence would mean the foregrounding of a misunderstood but right-minded outsider, which kind of describes all three main protagonists in the series but especially, in this book, describes Jacob, who breaks away from his family over their murderous intentions for Bella's child.
As a rule, Condon has been preoccupied with the underdog in his movies, though one who ultimately triumphs and finds vindication, which fits nicely with the themes of "Twilight."
Still, plenty of other questions will arise as production moves forward -- namely, whether the film will shoot in 3-D, how the likely second film that will come from the "Breaking Dawn" novel will be developed, and how the timing of this one will unfold, with Summit eager to keep the momentum going but Condon, like most Oscar winners, accustomed to working at a slower pace.
In "Gods & Monsters," Condon depicted a filmmaker beset by troubles as he tried to make an expectation-laden tale of the supernatural. Here's hoping life doesn't imitate art.
Source: LA Times
Photos: Bill Condon. Credit: Writers Guild of America.