Catherine Hardwicke
Birth Date:
Birth Place:
McAllen, Texas, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
Famous for:
Vanilla Sky' (2001)
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An appreciated filmmaker who began her career in Hollywood as a production designer and art director, Catherine Hardwicke rose to prominence as the director and co-writer of the multi award-winning coming-of-age drama Thirteen (2003), starring actress Even Rachel Wood, and Nikki Reed, with whom she wrote the screenplay. For her significant efforts, Hardwicke won a number of accolades, including a Sundance Film Festival Award, a Deauville Film Festival Award, a Locarno International Film Festival Award, a Nantucket Film Festival Award and Director’s View Film Festival Award.

Prior to Thirteen’s success, Hardwicke gained notice for designing such movies as David O. Russell’s Three Kings (1999), Cameron Crowe’s Vanilla Sky (2001) and Lisa Cholodenko’s Laurel Canyon (2002). She is set to direct the forthcoming Nativity (2006) and The Monkey Wrench Gang (2007).

Puppy Does the Gumbo

Childhood and Family:

In McAllen, Texas, Catherine Helen Hardwicke was born on October 21, 1955. She graduated from McAllen High School in McAllen, Texas. Catherine later relocated to California to study at UCLA’s Film School. There, she made an award-winning short named Puppy Does the Gumbo.



A McAllen, Texas native, Catherine Hardwicke made her way to Los Angeles to attend the prestigious UCLA’s Film School, and soon showcased her potential with the made of the award-winning short, Puppy Does the Gumbo. Hardwicke served as an art director for movies Hunk (1987) and Mr. Destiny (1990). Also, she worked as a production designer in Tapeheads and I’m Gonna Get You Sucka (both 1988).

Hardwicke went on to design features like Martians Go Home (1990), Posse (1993), Freaked (1993), Tombstone (1993, starred Kurt Russell), Tank Girl (1995) and 2 Days in the Valley (1996), Mad City (1997, starred John Travolta) and The Newton Boys (1998, starred Matthew McConaughey). She had moved into more noteworthy associations with A list-directors by the late 1990s, designing David O. Russell’s Three Kings (1999), an adventure movie starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube. Two years later, she teamed up with director/screenwriter Cameron Crowe and actor/producer Tom Cruise on the drama/romance film Vanilla Sky, which starred Cruise, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz. Both Three Kings and Vanilla Sky are remarkable for their original utilize of color-manipulation techniques to harmonize the narrative.

After joining the flourishing independent favorite Lisa Cholodenko in the drama/music Laurel Canyon, which starred Frances McDormand, Christian Bale, Kate Beckinsale and Natascha McElhone, Hardwicke attracted the attention of public with the award-winning coming of age drama Thirteen (2003), which marked her debut as director-writer. Working with 15-year-old Nikki Reed to pen the film that starred Evan Rachel Wood and Reed herself, Hardwicke enjoyed great success as it became a favorite in festival circuits. As a result, she was handed such awards as a Deauville Film Festival for Jury Special Prize, a Locarno International Film Festival for Best First or Second Feature Film and a Nantucket Film Festival for Best Feature Screenplay. For her bravura directorial efforts, Hardwicke took home the 2003 Sundance Film Festival’s Director’s Award for a drama and a 2004 Director’s View Film Festival for Dorothy Arzner Prize. Moreover, she received numerous nominations, including a Sundance Film Festival for Grand Jury Prize, Golden Satellites for Best Director and Best Screenplay (Original) as well as Independent Spirits for Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay.

The valued filmmaker next directed Lords of Dogtown (2005), a fictionalized description of skateboarding culture. The sport/biopic feature is loosely based on a popular documentary by Stacy Peralta, Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001). She will sit on the director’s chair the next year with the biblical film Nativity for New Line Cinema. In 2007, Hardwicke is scheduled to direct the drama film The Monkey Wrench Gang, about environmental activists struggle the over-development of the 1970’s American West.


  • Director’s View Film Festival: Dorothy Arzner Prize, Thirteen, 2004
  • Sundance Film Festival: Director’s Award-Dramatic, Thirteen, 2003
  • Nantucket Film Festival: Best Feature Screenplay, shared with Nikki Reed, Thirteen, 2003
  • Locarno International Film Festival: Best First or Second Feature Film, Thirteen, 2003
  • Deauville Film Festival: Jury Special Prize, Thirteen, 2003
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