Director Catherine Hardwicke made Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner household names when she cast the trio of young actors in "Twilight" in 2008. Now she hopes to work her same star-making magic with "Red Riding Hood."
Amanda Seyfried plays Valerie, a young woman betrothed to one man but in love with another. Newcomers Shiloh Fernandez and Max Irons play her two would-be lovers in the fantasy tale set in a medieval village that's haunted by a werewolf.
Though Seyfried has appeared in more than a dozen films, Irons and Fernandez have just a handful of acting credits each. The 25-year-old actress says Hardwicke has "an eye for casting and she has an eye for chemistry."
"When she sees two people connect, she becomes your biggest fan she wants to take that and make that into something beautiful," Seyfried says. "I think she saw that with Rob (Pattinson) and Kristen (Stewart) and she has been very vocal about that. When she first saw Shiloh (Fernandez) and me do our chemistry read, she saw something and I saw something."
Hardwicke, 55, also launched careers for Nikki Reed, who co-wrote and starred in "Thirteen" and went on to appear in the "Twilight" series, and Emile Hirsch, a star of "Lords of Dogtown" whose credits now include starring roles in "Into the Wild" and "Milk."
"It's very fun for me," Hardwicke says. "If people have this talent or this goal, things that they are working toward that if you can give them a chance or give them a voice ... I love the idea of helping them get there."
Hardwicke also works with young writers.
"A 22-year-old friend of Nikki's and mine wrote the ("Red Riding Hood") novel, which got on the New York Times best seller list ... so whatever the person's talent is, I love the idea of helping them get there."
"She's got a knack for it," says Gary Oldman, who plays a veteran werewolf hunter in "Red Riding Hood."
"She kind of understands this coming-of-age and teenage-angle angst," he says. "And she is very good at casting."
Fernandez, one of the main love interests in the film, was almost cast in Robert Pattinson's role in "Twilight."
"Thank God he wasn't," Seyfried says, "so he could be in our movie."
"Red Riding Hood" opens nationwide on Friday.