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Twilight director says she was paid $3 to direct 2003 movie as nobody wanted to make R-rated film about teen girls

Callum Jones

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Twilight director says she was paid $3 to direct 2003 movie as nobody wanted to make R-rated film about teen girls

Featured Image Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images / Summit Entertainment

The discussion surrounding pay has been a hot topic of conversation in Hollywood.

Heck, we even had a writers' strike that lasted for five months as the Writers Guild of America - which represents 11,500 screenwriters - refused to work over a labor dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

Meanwhile, many other famous faces have spoken in the industry on how much, or little, they were paid for certain roles.

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One of them being Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, who revealed the shockingly low amount she was paid for 2003 teen drama Thirteen.

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The movie starred Holly Hunter, Evan Rachel Wood and Nikki Reed, and follows a teen girl's introduction to sex, drugs and crime.

In an interview celebrating the film’s 20th anniversary earlier this year, Hardwicke revealed that it took her and Reed, 24 days to shoot the film and that financiers originally didn’t want to take it on.

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Speaking to Yahoo! Entertainment, the 68-year-old said: “I mean, every studio and every financier said, ‘No, we can't make it. How could we make a movie that’s gonna be R-rated with an unknown 13-year-old girl in the lead?’

"Everybody said no.”

Thirteen starred Holly Hunter and Evan Rachel Wood. Credit: Universal Pictures
Thirteen starred Holly Hunter and Evan Rachel Wood. Credit: Universal Pictures

“We made it by hook or crook, you know? And for no money,” she continued.

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The director says she relied on independent equity financing to budget the movie, and ended up with a production pot of $2 million (£1.5 million).

Perhaps the most shocking discovery of the interview was the fact Hardwicke claimed she was paid just $3 for directing the film.

The director said she 'got paid three bucks the whole time', but that after Thirteen was made, it received tons of praise.

She said: “But when we finally made it, people were like, ‘Oh, it's powerful. It's moving. It's relevant in a way to what people are going through.’”

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Twenty years on, the Twilight director says that she still loves the R-rated 2003 flick - fondly calling it her 'little baby'.

 Catherine Hardwicke says she was paid just $3 for directing the film. Credit: Steve Granitz/FilmMagic
Catherine Hardwicke says she was paid just $3 for directing the film. Credit: Steve Granitz/FilmMagic

She said: “You know, I saw what Nikki Reed was going through at 13… Holly Hunter, Evan Rachel Wood, their performances are still so strong if you watch it now because they put their hearts into it.

“They felt it. They lived it on the day. So I love that film."

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Speaking about the flick's lasting impact, the award-winning director said that Thirteen is booming on TikTok.

She added: “Even now on TikTok, there's like 1.6 billion interactions with Thirteen. People are seeing clips and they're writing in the comments, ‘That happened to me last week with my mom.’”

She claimed that the 'honest' emotions featured in the film make the 2003 movie relevant today.

When asked if there would ever be a Thirteen reboot or a sequel series, the Hardwicke was pretty positive.

She said: “We really wanna do a TV series where we see other 13-year-old girls: Thirteen Afghanistan, Thirteen Detroit.

"You know, let's see how other 13-year-old girls are navigating their transition into adulthood.”

Topics: Film & TV, Film and TV

Callum Jones
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