American production designer, film writer and film director Catherine Helen Hardwicke born October 21, 1955. Her works include the independent film Thirteen, which she co-wrote with Nikki Reed, the film's co-star, the Biblically-themed The Nativity Story, the vampire film Twilight, and the werewolf film Red Riding Hood. The opening weekend of Twilight was the biggest opening ever for a female director.

Despite a popular misconception, Catherine is not related to actor Sir Cedric Hardwicke.

Hardwicke was born in Cameron, Texas,the daughter of Jamee Elberta (née Bennett) and John Benjamin Hardwicke. She grew up in McAllen, Texas, on the U.S.–Mexico border, where her family lived on a giant farm off the Rio Grande. “It was a wild life,” she would recount. She graduated from McAllen High School, Texas, and was raised in the Presbyterian denomination.While at UCLA film school during the 1980s, Hardwicke made an award-winning short, Puppy Does the Gumbo. She has a brother named Jack, and a sister named Irene Hardwicke Olivieri, who is an artist.

She graduated from college with an architecture degree, and after her father bought a 20-acre real-estate complex, she designed the property’s 120 townhouses. Hardwicke began her career as an architect,but the work she was offered began to feel too cookie-cutter, so she fled to Hollywood, where she landed her first motion picture job as a production designer on the skateboard cult favorite Thrashin' directed by David Winters and starring Josh Brolin.

She spent most of the 1990s as a production designer, working on such films as Tombstone (1993), Tank Girl (1995), 2 Days in the Valley (1996), The Newton Boys (1998), and Three Kings (1999). The following year, she collaborated with director/screenwriter Cameron Crowe and actor/producer Tom Cruise on Vanilla Sky (2001). The latter two films are notable for their original use of color-manipulation techniques to complement the narrative. Hardwicke who always wanted to make her own movies stumbled on to that chance while trying to help troubled teen, Nikki Reed, a friend’s daughter, who had fallen in with a bad crowd at school.

Hardwicke's first foray into film direction was with the award-winning Thirteen. Hardwicke and fourteen-year-old Nikki Reed collaborated in writing a movie that would reflect Reed's teenage experiences. They completed the script in six days, during Christmas break. Evan Rachel Wood was contracted to star in the movie alongside Reed. Thirteen earned Hardwicke the directing award at Sundance in 2003, establishing her as Hollywood’s hot new filmmaker at 47. She went on to direct Lords of Dogtown (2005), a fictionalized account of skateboarding culture. The film is loosely based on the documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys by Stacy Peralta, whom Hardwicke first met and worked with on the film Thrashin'. In 2006, Hardwicke directed the biblical film The Nativity Story for New Line Cinema. The movie closed out with almost US$ 38 million domestically and added to that almost US$ 9 million in foreign gross, bringing it to a worldwide total of almost US$ 47 million on a reported US $ 35 million budget.

She became the most commercially successful female director in Hollywood, when in 2008 she directed the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's bestselling book, Twilight. The film is the first in a planned series produced by Summit Entertainment based on Meyer's four-book series. Like the late John Hughes, who discovered the teenage actors that became the Brat Pack, Hardwicke has created many of this generation’s tween idols: Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen), Emile Hirsch (Lords of Dogtown), Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner (Twilight) all got their big breaks in her films. But unlike Hughes’s films, her movies are very dark. In 2009, she was awarded the Women in Film Dorothy Arzner Directors Award.

Amid rumors of a rocky relationship with Hardwicke, Summit Entertainment announced that she would not direct the sequel, New Moon. Despite Twilight’s $400 million global success, Hardwicke left the franchise when it came to the sequel. She said it was her decision, despite a blog report that she was fired. “I couldn’t even be fired, that’s what’s so funny,” she says. “In my contract, I had the first right of refusal.” She turned down the second film, she says, because the studio wanted to rush it out. “I do not regret it at all, thank the Lord,” she says. “The truth is I liked the first book the best.”

In 2011, Hardwicke directed Red Riding Hood.

Subsequent reports of an agreement to direct the adaptation of Gayle Forman's If I Stay, which Summit optioned prior to its publication, suggest that the relationship may not have deteriorated as much as reports indicated. Hardwicke will also be directing Maximum Ride, a film adaptation based on the book series by James Patterson, and is teaming up with actor Emile Hirsch to create a modern-day, supernatural version of Hamlet.|wikipedia|