UT alumna Catherine Hardwicke talks ‘Miss Bala,’ representation in media

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

While Hollywood has recently been calling for female representation in the industry, director Catherine Hardwicke has rooted for change for years.

Since 2003, Hardwicke has written and directed major female-led films such as “Thirteen” and the 2008 pop culture juggernaut “Twilight.” Her latest action film, “Miss Bala,” continues her insistence of female representation by focusing on Gloria (Gina Rodriguez) who unexpectedly finds herself swept away by a cartel group, the Estrellas.

The Daily Texan sat down with Hardwicke to talk about “Miss Bala,” what drew her to directing and the tenth anniversary of “Twilight.”

Daily Texan: You graduated UT with a degree in architecture, so what drew you to film and directing afterwards?

Catherine Hardwicke: Well, in some ways there’s a parallel because with architecture, you start with a flat piece of dirt, and then you have to visualize what it could be and create it. Same thing with film. You start with a bare idea or script and think ‘How do I bring this to life?’ I thought film would be more creative, but I forgot about sequels. [laughs]

DT: You grew up in McAllen which is by the Mexican border, similar to Gloria in “Miss Bala,” so did this project evoke any memories?

CH: That’s a main reason why I wanted to do the movie because I loved growing up in McAllen. It’s a very interesting place where you have the two cultures. I went to art school in Mexico, so what I always wanted to show some of this richness of Mexico. It was important to show Tijuana’s cutting edge architecture and the beauty of the landscape since you don’t normally see that when you think of the border.

DT: With the ten year anniversary of “Twilight” last year, how has seeing the lasting impact of this movie been for you?

CH: I think it was in September when I went to the “Twilight” convention in Forks, (Washington), and it was awesome. People are still so into it. It’s really been so touching because all these lives have changed, and connections have been made. One time, this girl from Peru came up to me and told me that when she saw that a woman directed it, she was amazed because she didn’t even know that was possible. She later went to film school and made a short film, which ten years later played at the Academy.

DT: What do you think about the upcoming Academy Awards not having any nominated female directors?

CH: Oh, I know. It’s like ‘Here we go again.’

DT: In recent years, Hollywood has made a big push for more female driven films, but when it comes to big things like the Academy Awards, this happens.

CH: There are so many ways that you need to nourish that. They need to give women the chance to get these big projects and money for award campaigns. Like Sony is supporting ‘Miss Bala’ starring a Latina, directed by a woman and the editor (Terilyn A. Shropshire) is an African-American woman, and it’s an action movie which is unique. They usually tell me I need a male action editor, but I said nope, I wanted a woman editor. Let’s lead the charge!