He’s accepted Summit Entertainment’s offer to direct the movie adaptation of the second book in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series of vampire novels, New Moon. (I first broke the news that Weitz had received the offer here, and the news that Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke was off the sequel here.) The offer went out to director Chris Weitz in part because he’s a longtime pal of Summit’s president of production. Now comes a letter that the director will be sending to Twilight fans (below) with his selection endorsed by Stephenie Meyer (below that). Fan approval is very important to Weitz, who initially resigned from directing The Golden Compass, also based on a popular book, because he feared getting dissed by devotees. Despite that, Summit has put its first valuable franchise in his hands. Weitz has successfully worked with tweens and teens in About A Boy as director and writer, and in American Pie as producer and uncredited director. I’m told Summit wanted Weitz because the studio liked the look of The Golden Compass (he was writer and director) even if it didn’t heat up the domestic box office. Here’s the Weitz letter to fans:

chrisweitzletter.jpg

Twilight book series author Stephenie Meyer endorsed Weitz today and published his letter on her website:

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December 13, 2008
Hey guys,

There’s been a lot of worry and speculation on the boards lately, and I want to let you know what’s going on.

First of all, like you, I’m sad that Catherine is not continuing on with us for New Moon. I’m going to miss her, not just as a brilliant director, but also as a friend. She has such a distinct, authentic voice that did amazing things for Twilight. I’m looking forward to every movie she does in the future.

And she didn’t leave us empty handed. We still get the benefits of her amazing casting and the beautiful visual world she created. This foundation puts us in a good place for New Moon.

Summit Films is moving forward with a new director for New Moon. They’ve asked Chris Weitz, director of American Pie, About a Boy, and The Golden Compass, to join us, and I am very pleased to announce that he’s agreed to be a part of our Twilight world. I’ve had the chance to talk to Chris, and I can tell you that he is excited by the story and eager to keep the movie as close to the book as possible. He is also very aware of you, the fans, and wants to keep you all extremely happy. (Torches and pitchforks are not going to be necessary.)

I’m excited to work with Chris and I think he brings a lot to the table, not the least of which for me is that he wrote the screenplay for and directed one of my favorite movies of all time, About a Boy. I’m really looking forward to seeing his vision for New Moon.

Below is a letter from Chris to you. I think you’ll get a glimpse in this note of how cool it’s going to be having Chris as part of our community.