Catherine Hardwicke Biography
Born: October 21, 1955
Date of Birth: October 21, 1955
Catherine Hardwicke grew up in the Texas border town of McAllen. She studied art in Mexico, then received a degree in architecture from the University of Texas at Austin. She began her career by designing a solar townhouse complex, but soon decided that film was her true calling. She moved to California to study at UCLA's Film School, where she made her first short film. It was a combination of animation and live action that won a Nissan Focus Award. From there, she went on to work as a production designer on more than 20 features, including Tombstone (1993) starring Kurt Russell, Mad City (1997) starring John Travolta and Vanilla Sky (2001) starring Tom Cruise.
She became inspired to write a screenplay after dating a man with a young daughter. Although she stopped seeing the man, she continued to hang out with his daughter, Nikki Reed. When the girl turned 13, Hardwicke saw her go through a dramatic change, becoming angry, secretive and uncommunicative. When Reed showed a passion for acting and film, Hardwick decided to bring Reed in on one of her dreams—to write and direct a film. In six days, the two wrote the first draft of a screenplay based on Reed's true life experiences. Determined to get the screenplay produced while Reed was still young enough to play a part in the film, Hardwicke brought the project to the attention of two producers, who were drawn to the story. Thirteen (2003) was filmed when Reed was just 14, playing not the character based on herself but the secondary lead, with experienced 14-year-old actress Even Rachel Wood in the lead role.
Hardwicke won numerous awards for her directing debut, including the Director's Award at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival; the Jury Special Prize at the 2003 Deauville Film Festival; the Silver Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival for Best First Feature Film and the Dorothy Arzner Prize at the 2004 Director's View Film Festival.