By Mack Chico
Could Summit be going genre with its third “Twilight” pic?
Sources indicate that horror wunderkind — and Guillermo Del Toro protege — Juan Antonio Bayona has emerged as one of the finalists to direct “Eclipse,” the third movie in Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” franchise.
The studio declined to comment; a rep said producers were looking at a number of candidates.
Bayona’s name has come up in recent months, though generally in a group of other directors — an eclectic list that’s ranged from Paul Weitz to Drew Barrymore to James Mangold;earlier today, in fact, a report on the Twilighters fansite reported it would be Paul Weitz.
Many of the other names have been batted down. Bayona’s name, on the other hand, has surfaced more in recent days as the man who could land the job, in what would mark a bold departure for the franchise.
If he does come aboard, the studio would have brought on a female coming-of-age girl director in Catherine Hardwicke for the first “Twilight” picture, a mainstream Hollywood comedy director in Chris Weitz for sequel “New Moon” and a genre maven for the third picture.
The shift would make sense on a number of levels — “Eclipse,” while continuing the romances and love triangles of previous books, does contain a mystery of unsolved murders that protags Bella and Edward seek to solve. (Notably, Bayona’s debut “The Orphanage” also contained a plotline centering on children who had been killed under mysterious circumstances.) It also features battles between werewolves and vampires that could call for a practiced genre hand.
Bayona, for those who don’t follow foreign horror directors, is a hot property — the 33-year-old Spaniard who goes mainy by his last name has been championed by “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Hobbit” director del Toro, who has produced and/or godfathered his work. Bayona received rave reviews for his Spanish-language “Orphanage,’ the Picturehouse-released Gothic tale about childhood and loss that was rife with spooks. He’s currently signed on to direct the dystopian thriller “Hater” for Universal.
That project was to mark his English-language debut. If he and Summit can make a deal work, he may have some vampires to contend with first.