Red Riding Hood will be released on DVD on June 14, so we chatted with director Catherine Hardwicke about adapting this famous fairy tale in a way that amps up the sexiness and paranoia of the original story. Our conversation on how screenwriter David Johnson decided who would be the “big bad wolf” was especially relevant in light of the alternate ending included in this DVD, which explores another choice that Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) could have made. But since we get into the nitty-gritty, be warned that there are definitely spoilers.
When you read David Johnson’s script, were you taken by surprise as to the identity of the wolf, or did he tell you beforehand?
Hardwicke: Oh, no no. I read it cold and I had no idea, either. I thought it was great; I thought David did a great job of layering in all these possibilities. I like the idea that it could be anybody, that there could be darkness inside anyone.
How did you match that misdirection as a director? Did you intend to make the suspicion more in the characters’ heads, or to influence the viewers as well?
Hardwicke: That was the fun thing, to figure out how to create that paranoia in the way Valerie loked at people—in the lighting, almost in the shadows and trying to understand, Is there darkness, is there evil in this person? I think that’s something kind of interesting, now that people do often have an identity online, a whole different life in chat rooms and having affairs, and we don’t know what the perons sitting next to us is doing. I love that whole “secret identity” thing; I thought it would be an interesting thing to play out. One minute somebody looks normal, then the next they look different in the shadows and you feel like, Oh my God, I’m not seeing this person for who they really are.