Catherine Hardwicke to Twilight Studio: ‘You Can’t Fire Me, Because I Quit!’

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Despite the fact that Catherine Hardwicke transformed the ham-fisted prose of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight novel into a genuine cultural phenomenon (one that's raked in some $356 million in worldwide box office), Summit Entertainment summarily dismissed her when it came to direct the second film, in favor of some penis-having, fantasy-franchise-destroying dude named Chris Weitz. Or did they? According to an interview she just gave to Entertainment Weekly, Catherine Hardwicke claims that the shoe was actually on the other foot and that she was the dumper to Summit's dumpee.

Painting a starkly different picture than the one that was leaked to Vulture buddy Nikki Finke back in December, Catherine Hardwicke tells EW that she was eating crêpes* and drinking wine with Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson in Paris when Summit called her up and offered her "more money than I or anyone in my family has ever seen" to direct New Moon (a.k.a. Twilight 2). However, the enormous salary came with a catch: The studio was asking her to rush the film into production and turn it around on a dime. At that point, she gave them the Heisman:

"I was devastated," [Hardwicke] says now. "I really did feel a strong connection to the people around the world that liked the movie — and to Stephenie and the actors. But I just didn't think I could make a good movie under those circumstances."

While we'll likely never know what really went down or who actually zoomed who, we're glad to hear Hardwicke finally came out publicly to defend her reputation and her work (while also casually insinuating that Chris Weitz is a money-grubbing director-for-hire along the way). As far as the fate of Twilight 2 is concerned, we guess we'll have to wait until the film's release in November to see if teenage girls still think that abstinence is cool.

*We made up the "eating crêpes" part. But that's what one does while one is in Paris, right?

Report: Hardwicke declined huge `New Moon' payday [EW via AP]