A "New Moon" director is rising.
Chris Weitz has been hired to direct the sequel to "Twilight," the teen vampire romance that has grossed more than $142 million domestically and earned another $33 million overseas. Director Catherine Hardwicke and Summit Entertainment announced earlier this month that she would not return to the franchise.
Production on "New Moon" is scheduled to begin in coming months and Summit plans to release the movie in late 2009 or early 2010. In the sequel, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is devastated by the abrupt departure of her vampire love, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), but her spirit is rekindled by her growing friendship with Jacob Black. She is drawn into the world of the werewolves, ancestral enemies of the vampires, and finds her loyalties tested.
Interestingly enough, when Summit issued the press release about Weitz, it did not list an actor for Jacob, a role that could be recast, according to Entertainment Weekly. Taylor Lautner handled it in "Twilight," based on the Stephenie Meyer novel of the same name.
As for the just signed director, Weitz said in a statement issued by Summit: "I am honored to have been entrusted with shepherding ‘New Moon' from the page to the screen.
"The extraordinary world that Stephenie has created has millions of fans, and it will be my duty to protect on their behalf the characters, themes and story they love. This is not a task to be taken lightly, and I will put every effort into realizing a beautiful film to stand alongside a beautiful book."
Weitz wrote "About a Boy," adapted and directed "The Golden Compass," co-wrote "Antz" and produced "American Pie," among other movies.