[Update: It's official, Condon is directing both Breaking Dawn films!]
We reported back a few weeks ago that Summit Entertainment is approaching some award-winning directors to helm the final entry in the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn. We've heard a couple of additional big names bandied about since then, including Stephen Daldry (The Reader) and even M. Night Shyamalan. Well, it looks like we have a winner at last.
Variety is reporting that Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) is in final negotiations to direct Breaking Dawn, which you may recall is being split into two films. Pending any unexpected breakdowns in the process, expect to see Condon officially confirmed for the job in the near future.
There's already been a lot of discussion on the subject of Breaking Dawn, and with good reason. The fourth book contains significantly darker, more graphic material than the previous chapters in the Twilight Saga, as it deals with [SPOILER ALERT!] Bella's pregnancy with a half-human/half-vampire hybrid, the birth of which Edward must assist with in a rather disturbing, bloody fashion [END SPOILER ALERT]. You know - for kids!
That said, Twilight series screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg has assured fans that Breaking Dawn will in fact be rated PG-13, despite concerns over the risque nature of some of its plot elements. Although Bill Condon is no stranger to handling adult material (his directorial efforts range from Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh to Kinsey, a biopic about the infamous sex researcher), don't expect him to deliver anything but two more teenager-friendly Twilight films.
That said, Condon is an interesting choice for a director of Breaking Dawn. He is certainly a versatile filmmaker who has worked in the drama, horror, and even the musical genres before. Stylistically, his films lack the recognizability of an auteur like M. Night Shyamalan, but are generally critically acclaimed in their own right (something that has eluded "the master of twists" as of late - though hopefully that'll change with his upcoming adaptation of The Last Airbender).
It will also be interesting to see what tone Condon strikes for the two Breaking Dawn films. Will he return to the moody, subdued atmosphere of the first Twilight? The more brisk, enlivened pacing of New Moon? Or (what looks to be) the more exciting, action-oriented style of this summer's Eclipse? Only time will tell, but hopefully whatever approach he takes will be, y'know, good.
Update: Summit has confirmed that Condon will be directing both installments of Breaking Dawn. Here's the press release:
Summit Entertainment has confirmed that Academy Award® winner Bill Condon will direct THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN, based on the fourth novel in author Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN, is currently being written by Melissa Rosenberg, and will star Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. Wyck Godfrey, Karen Rosenfelt, and Stephenie Meyer will produce the project.
"Bringing Stephenie Meyer's BREAKING DAWN to the screen requires a graceful and intelligent hand and we believe Bill Condon is exactly the right steward, having shown equal and abundant talents of immense creativity and subtle sensitivity,” said Erik Feig, President of Production and Acquisitions, for Summit Entertainment.
Added author Stephenie Meyer, “I'm so thrilled that Bill wants to work with us. I think he's going to be a great fit, and I'm excited to see what he does with the material.”
“I'm very excited to get the chance to bring the climax of this saga to life on-screen. As fans of the series know, this is a one-of-a-kind book - and we're hoping to create an equally unique cinematic experience,” said Bill Condon.
Look for Breaking Dawn to start filming soon with a possible Summer/Winter 2011 release for the two films. Meanwhile, Twilight fans can continue to look forward to Eclipse, which will be released in the U.S. on June 30, 2010.