Catherine Hardwicke

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Director Catherine Hardwicke tells stories of the music behind the blockbuster vampire movie Twilight and dedicates two songs to late actor Heath Ledger, who she directed in Lords of Dogtown, in her Guest DJ set. Hardwicke talks about pushing Twilight actor Robert Pattinson into the studio to record a song for the movie and finding inspiration for the closing credits during a show at the Hollywood Bowl. She also chooses a song from local band Cold War Kids that she is integrating into her next project. Twilight is now available on DVD.

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1.Radiohead - 15 Step
2. Robert Pattinson - Let Me Sign
3. Cold War Kids - On the Night My Love Broke Through
4. Sparklehorse - Wish You Were Here
5. Rod Stewart - Maggie May


JE - It's Jason Eldredge from KCRW and I am here with director Catherine Hardwicke whose most recent film was the blockbuster vampire film Twilight but is also known for Lord's of Dogtown and The Nativity Story and her directorial debut Thirteen, which is one of my favorites as well. And we are going to be talking about some music that has inspired her over the years as a part KCRW's Guest DJ Project. Catherine, welcome to KCRW, first of all.

CH - Thank you, I'm really happy to be here.

JE - So why don't we jump right in… why don't you tell us about the first song that you have picked for us today.

CH - Well, the first song that we are going to hear is “15 Step” from Radiohead and I love this song because I heard it -- our music supervisor on Twilight Alexandra Patsavas had suggested this song and of course it's just got that mesmerizing kind of feeling and mysterious beat and everything that I really loved but we couldn't find any place to use it and finally I went to the Radiohead concert at the Hollywood Bowl and you know, you’re outside and your brain is just open to the sky and the heavens and it's so beautiful and the first song was "15 Step" and I just, right then, I just got a flood of images and I suddenly thought I'm going to put this as the closing music and I just saw a whole credit sequence that I could make for the movie and I finally knew the ending of the movie. Right there it kind of came to me.

Song: Radiohead’s “15 Step”

JE - That was Radiohead with “15 Step” on KCRW's Guest DJ Project and the 2nd song actually comes from one of your new actors.

CH - Well, this is a song called "Let Me Sign" by Robert Pattinson this is a song… I started hearing that Robert Pattinson had this beautiful voice and loved to play guitar and sing after hours. I was so curious, what would his voice sound like? You know, I love him as an actor, but I didn't know - I kept asking him everyday, can I hear your music? Maybe we can somehow use it in the movie. And he was very reluctant. ‘No, you know, let me try and record something.’ He'd say ‘Oh, I'll bring something tomorrow that I think might be good for the movie.’ Tomorrow he didn't bring it, the next day; he never brought it to me. He was very shy about letting me hear it and finally, a friend of mine, Carl Liker, who lives in Venice who has the funkiest little studio inside his apartment and I said ‘Come on over here, I mean Carl wears flip flops and shorts, man, you know its not intimidating, just sit down on the tiny little Japanese chair he has and just play a few songs and lets hear it.’

And so Rob did that, and I heard these six tracks and I went in quickly and we put them next to the picture to see if they could fit in the movie, and one of the other songs fit beautifully, but this one, when I heard it, I just thought ‘Oh, this could be that death scene.’ And then, after we made the whole morphing crazy dream sequence we took that on my laptop back into another little studio in the valley and then Rob literally sang and just played to the image on the screen. And I just watched Rob sing this song, maybe ten different times. Every time it sounded like something almost completely different, because it just came out of him, this kind of RAW feeling and in a way, that was my favorite day that I've had in the last two years, just being there in the studio, and watching music just come out of somebody's body.

Song: Robert Pattinson’s Let Me Sign

JE - That was a little something from the movie “Twilight.” Now we'll go to this next song that you've chosen which is from Cold War Kids -- why don't you go ahead and set this one up.

CH - This song is called "On the Night My Love Broke Through." It’s from their new album. I heard this song, and it just like, it kind of like seared right into my skin and kind of freaked me out when I heard it, and I loved it. In a new screenplay that I'm writing, I've written this song all the way into this screenplay. It just completely inspired this one scene and the characters are really interacting with the song a lot. I think it’s also very raw and strange and emotional, but again the lyrics are so powerful that any scene that you put this in, they just cut right through.

Song: Cold War Kids’ “On the Night My Love Broke Through"

JE - It's Jason Eldredge, I'm here with director Catherine Hardwicke, and your last two selections actually come from one of your films, Lords of Dogtown, and, let's see, the first one, is which one? What's the first one?

CH - It’s the Sparklehorse cover of the Pink Floyd song "Wish You Were Here." This is a song that is actually at the very end, kind of like the other one I chose -- at the very end of Dogtown where the kids are skating the pool. I love this cover. I thought it was just so powerful and beautiful, and you know, of course, well, "Wish You Were Here," it's kind of for Heath.

JE - Well, absolutely. So lets - we'll play this one and then we'll go into the other one. It's Sparklehorse with the Pink Floyd cover of "Wish You Were Here"

Song: Sparklehorse’s “Wish You Were Here"

JE - This next track that you have chosen … I just sat down with the film, your film, Lords of Dogtown and watched it again and I have to say, Catherine, it gives me chills the placement of this song in the movie -- over a pretty poignant scene with the late Heath Ledger -- which is really, really beautiful in the way that it’s used. Why don't you go ahead and introduce it and talk a little bit about it.

CH - Well this song "Maggie May" -- Rod Stewart, of course, its a classic that everyone, that we've loved for a zillion years of course -- but it was also used beautifully in the documentary that Stacy Peralta made, Dogtown and Z-Boys. So for that reason, I thought well I kinda don't want to use it and we picked another really cool song that Heath was going to sing to in the final scene in Dogtown. I talked to Heath the day before, and I said ‘You're cool, with the other song, it's all good?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, it's all good.’ And then one minute before shooting, Heath said, "Catherine, I gotta sing "Maggie May, I'm not doing the other song.’

And I was like, ‘oh no’, you know! Our music supervisor, Liza Richardson -- yay! KCRW DJ -- she hadn't cleared "Maggie May," we didn't know what the rights were going to cost, we didn't have permission to use it, but of course I loved it too and I had it right there, you know, a CD of it, and I'm like…ok, let's just go ahead and take the chance, and we'll go ahead and sing it but what if we can't get it? So I asked Heath if we could do one secret take, one take where he didn't lip synch to "Maggie May," just in case we couldn't clear it. So of course he did the one secret take -- which no one has ever seen and will never see -- and then he sang to "Maggie May."

I think its one of my favorite scenes ever of Heath because for me, in that scene, he's a little bit more like Heath than he is sometimes in other movies -- which I am crazy about -- but he's more of a character. In this scene, he feels like Heath. He sands, he shapes that board in a way that’s kind of amazing. It looks like he's shaped boards for fifteen years when really he had just learned, he'd worked with the real Skip Engblom. But Heath had that ability to just absorb that movement and physicality. He could do everything in his own cool way. I love the way he flips that board and I love the way, right when he punches that beat box and he starts to sing "Maggie May," I just oh…

Song: Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May"