When Nikki Finke reported last year that Summit Entertainment was pursuing an Oscar-caliber director to helm THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN, the double-header conclusion of Stephanie Meyer's critically-lambasted vampire series, I thought they were out of their mind - especially when we learned the shortlist consisted of Gus Van Sant, Fernando Meirelles, Bill Condon and Sofia Coppola. Sure, it's probably a great paycheck, and the film(s) will likely make a killing at the box office, but the first two installments have been so freaking bad. When the best possible outcome would seem to be making a movie that's mildly watchable, is it really worth giving up a year-plus of your career?
I respect Bill Condon a great deal, so I can only conclude that - provided Michael Fleming's Deadline Hollywood story is correct - he's found a way to make a worthwhile movie out of BREAKING DAWN. According to Fleming, Condon and Summit had "several strong meetings" recently, and are now in negotiations. The film would begin shooting this fall, and the two installments of BREAKING DAWN would be shot back-to-back; this means Condon's Richard Pryor biopic starring Marlon Wayans would be backburnered for a while (same goes for his adaptation of Paul Torday's SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN).
Again, I trust Condon knows what he's doing, but here's my big question: will he rewrite Melissa Rosenberg's screenplay? Rosenberg adapted the first three books in the series, and she's been solid enough in the past that I haven't held their awfulness against her. But Condon is an Academy Award-winning screenwriter with a thorough understanding of the horror genre. Given the rather perverse events of BREAKING DAWN (which, we're told, would have to be toned down for a PG-13), wouldn't you want Condon working on the script, too? If Summit gives him total creative freedom, it sounds like he could give this franchise the gloriously campy sendoff it richly deserves. And who cares if you piss off the fanbase: a) Stephanie Meyer's book already did that, and b) it's not like they're going to make more, right?
In any event, I've no choice but to look forward to BREAKING DAWN now.