‘Twilight’ Author Takes a Bite at Producing with Unproven Director

Having lived just outside Salt Lake City, Utah for nearly ten years now, I’ve noticed that a lot of people here do whatever they want – no matter if they have any education or background in that field or not. The mentality of “I love movies, therefore I know how to make one” runs rampant in this area. Nobody studies film; they just jump in feet first. Now exemplifying this perhaps worse than ever is ‘Twilight’ author Stephenie Meyer, who has decided to produce a film adaptation of Shannon Hale’s romantic comedy novel ‘Austenland’, with ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ co-writer Jerusha Hess set to direct. Mormons, unite!

Stephenie Meyer is an atrocious writer who’s made bajillions of dollars by writing a trash novel series for teenage don’t-know-any-better girls and romance-deprived women. Why she thinks that she has producing skills is beyond me. Meyer didn’t write any of the big screen adaptations of her ‘Twilight’ series, nor did she produce any of the first three films. Yet for some reason, she has stepped up to produce the two-movie adaptation of the last book of the series, ‘Breaking Dawn’.

Made by established filmmakers and producers, the first three ‘Twilight’ movies were more than terrible enough. Having an inexperienced new producer join in for the last two movies can only make things even worse. For those who loathe the series as much as I do, I’m certain that her role as producer will give us even more to laugh at during ‘Breaking Dawn’.

Shannon Hale is a nationally well-reviewed Utah author who actually lives just a few minutes from my home. She makes regular appearances signing books across the state. ‘Austenland’ is the novel that she is most known for, a unique play on Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’.

‘Austenland’ tells the story of a modern day Jane who fantasizes about one day meeting her own Mr. Darcy. Comparing every man she dates to Austen’s fictional male romantic lead, Jane is far from marrying and settling down. Worried about Jane’s dating life, her great aunt sends the girl away to a secret park in England called Austenland, where everything Jane Austen is brought to life.

Hired to helm ‘Austenland’ is first-time director Jerusha Hess, the writing partner and wife of ‘Napoleon Dynamite’, ‘Nacho Libre’ and ‘Gentlemen Broncos’ director Jared Hess. Without any directing experience of her own, Jerusha’s step behind the camera may just be as much a train wreck as watching Meyer produce.

Can a newcomer producer put out a strong film with a newcomer director? Yes, but the fact that they have strong Utah ties is what solidifies the doubt in mind. “We are all sisters in Utah. We all practice the same faith and we all have money, so we can do whatever we want.” I’m not going to presume outright that ‘Austenland’ will be a failure, but now knowing the local mindset as well as I do, I fear for the worst.


  1. Alex

    Okay, can someone explain to me the recent obsession with “Pride and Prejudice”? “Twilight” is already a loose adaptation of it. There’s that zombie version (which I haven’t read, but I’ve heard is a hoot). Bridget Jones is another adaptation. There was a rather dreadful Mormon version released in 2003. Keira Knightley was in a well-done but severely abbreviated version. There’s even a Bollywood version, all within the last 15 years or so, ever since the Colin Firth version was released. Can someone explain to me what the draw is? What is it about this story that seems to lend itself to so many adaptations of such radically varied quality?

    • Luke Hickman

      I’ve asked my wife that same question. I think it all comes down to the fact that fans of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ LOVE ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ They can’t get enough of it, so a new adaptation only gives them another chance to revel in it.

      • That I would probably agree with, my wife loves watching Pride and Prejudice, and I cant figure out why, I guess its one of those top chick flicks, I sat through it once with her and while not a bad movie per say, nothing happened in it, its a long two hours of almost nothing to me….but oh well what can you do?

        Anything Stephanie Meyers is involved in needs burned, shot, stabbed, hung, etc. etc. Twilight is one of the worst things to ever come along, it ruined what Vampires meant to the genre and there hasnt been much decent since these became big hits, I’m so glad my wife is having our baby shortly before the next Twilight movie comes out, so I wont have to be drug along with all my other pussified guy friends to watch the stupid thing, ugh

        • Alex

          Generally speaking, I have nothing against the story. I’m really just curious why there’s the current rash of revisionism surrounding it. I think you may be right, Luke, that the fans are rabid enough to support multiple adaptations, but it seems surprising that it’s so recent a phenomenon for a book that’s a couple hundred years old.

          Seriously, check this out:

          There have been six film and television adaptations and related works in the last fifteen years. That’s not even counting the Colin Firth version or the literary adaptations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_literary_adaptations_of_Pride_and_Prejudice), of which I note literally dozens within the same time frame.

          As a franchise, Hollywood seems to love rebooting Pride and Prejudice more than all of the superheroes, super-spies, and space operas combined!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *