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"Orphanage" director looks into "Eclipse"

 Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona poses backstage with his Best Upcoming Director award during the Spanish Film Academy
Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona poses backstage with his Best Upcoming Director award during the Spanish Film Academy 'Goya' awards ceremony in Madrid, February 3, 2008. REUTERS/Susana Vera
— image credit: Reuters

By Steven Zeitchik

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Spanish filmmaker Juan Antonio Bayona, a horror wunderkind and Guillermo Del Toro protege, has emerged as one of the finalists to direct "Eclipse," the third movie in the "Twilight" franchise, sources say.

Summit, the studio behind the films based on the books by Stephenie Meyer, declined to comment; a representative said producers were looking at a number of candidates.

Bayona's name has come up in recent months, as one among an eclectic list of directors that's ranged from Paul Weitz to Drew Barrymore to James Mangold. On Tuesday, a report on the Twilighters fansite reported that the film's director would be Weitz.

As many of the other possibilities have been batted down, Bayona, who helmed the acclaimed horror mystery "The Orphanage," has surfaced in recent days as the man who could land the job. His selection would mark a bold departure for the franchise into genre territory.

He would follow "Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke, known for her coming-of-age films "Thirteen" and "Lords of Dogtown," and mainstream Hollywood comedy director Chris Weitz for sequel "New Moon," due in November.

The shift would make sense on a number of levels. "Eclipse," while continuing the romances and love triangles of previous books, does contain a murder mystery that protagonists Bella and Edward try to solve. (Bayona's debut, "The Orphanage" also contained a plotline centering on children who had been killed under mysterious circumstances.) It also features battles between werewolves and vampires that could call for a practiced genre hand.

The 33-year-old Bayona, who goes mainly by his last name, has been championed by "Pan's Labyrinth" and "The Hobbit" director del Toro, who has produced or godfathered his work. Bayona received rave reviews for his Spanish-language "Orphanage,' the Picturehouse-released Gothic tale about childhood and loss that was rife with spooks.

He's signed to direct the dystopian thriller "Hater" for Universal, which was to mark his English-language debut. If he and Summit can reach a deal, he may have some vampires to contend with first.

(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)

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