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TIFF 2015 Women Directors: Meet Catherine Hardwicke – ‘Miss You Already’

TIFF 2015 Women Directors: Meet Catherine Hardwicke - 'Miss You Already'

Catherine Hardwicke was born in McAllen, Texas. She worked as a production designer on numerous films, including “Tank Girl,” “Three Kings” and “Laurel Canyon.” Her previous directing credits include “Thirteen,” “Lords of Dogtown,” “The Nativity Story,” “Twilight,” “Red Riding Hood” and “Plush. (Press materials)

Miss You Already” will premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival on September 12. 

W&H: Please give us your description of the film playing.

CH: “Miss You Already” is the story of two rock ‘n’ roll chicks (played by Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore) who’ve been best friends since elementary school. Now they’re trying to be grown-ups with husbands and kids, when one of them suddenly faces a serious health issue. 

W&H: What drew you to this story?

CH: It’s a universal story of friends and family facing difficult times with heart and grace. I was inspired that my dad never complained about his health issues and faced them with a wicked sense of humor. When I read this script, I loved how the screenwriter, Morwenna Banks, injected her potent British wit into the toughest situations.

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

CH: The script covers two and a half years — plus flashbacks — so we had to film lots of different seasons and different stages of health — phases of chemotherapy, hair loss, etc. — on a very tight schedule in London, a very congested city.

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?

CH: I’ve seen people leave “Miss You Already”riffing with their best friends about all the crazy times they’ve been through and how they were there for each other. That seems like a great thing to think about after a film.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

CH: Work hard five or six days every week. Writing, re-writing, working on other people’s films, making your own short films, PSA’s, music videos, webisodes — anything you can do to tell your story. And finish every script and short film that you start.

W&H: What’s the biggest misconception about you and your work?

CH: Misconceptions about me are probably quite similar to misconceptions about women directors in general.

Some studio executives think that women can’t direct “action” or “visual effects.” Check out the recent Funny or Die short film about the topic. We can cite numerous examples of films and top television shows that disprove this tired [way of thinking]: “The Hurt Locker,” “Girlfight,” “Game of Thrones,” “Homeland,” etc.

Other executives think that women should not cry or “be emotional” — yet they literally applaud male directors when they cry in public — “Look how sensitive he is!” — and continue to hire male directors when they yell, fight, fire crew and show up on set completely unprepared and end up going over budget. This kind of insidious gender bias, which is beautifully detailed in Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In,” is preventing amazing women from making films.

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

CH: “Miss You Already” financing was put together by our British producer, Chris Simon. This project was a labor of love for him for several years, and British distributor E One was one of the first companies to support the film, along with foreign sales company Salt, and New Sparta Films.

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

CH: I like so many films directed by women. Don’t make me name just one.

Kathyrn Bigelow made “Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty” so gripping. Ava DuVernay’s “Selma” was so moving. Lisa Cholodenko put so much heart and texture into “The Kids are All Right.” Kasi Lemmons exquisitely crafted “Talk to Me.” Jane Campion made such a striking, memorable film with “The Piano.” Kim Peirce (“Boys Don’t Cry”) and Patty Jenkins (“Monster”) made incredibly powerful films about very difficult women. And of course I love Amy Heckerling’s “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Clueless”!

There are so many more great ones, so let’s keep celebrating: Karyn Kusama’s “Girlfight,” Patricia Cardoso’s “Real Women Have Curves,” Lynne Ramsay’s “Ratcatcher,” Dee Rees’ “Pariah” and Courtney Hunt’s “Frozen River.”

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