Catherine Hardwicke (born Helllen Catherine Hardwicke; October 21, 1955(1955-10-21)) is an American production designer and film director. Her works include the independent film Thirteen, which she co-wrote with one of the film's co-stars, Nikki Reed, the Biblically-themed The Nativity Story, and the vampire film Twilight. The opening weekend of Twilight was the biggest opening ever for a female director.
Hardwicke was born in Cameron, Texas, the daughter of Jamee Elberta (née Bennett) and John Benjamin Hardwicke. She grew up in McAllen, Texas and was raised in the Presbyterian denomination. While at UCLA film school during the 1980s, Hardwicke made an award-winning short, Puppy Does the Gumbo. She has a sister called Irene Hardwicke Olivieri, who is an artist, and she has a brother named Ben.
Hardwicke began her career as an architect. She spent most of the 1990s as a production designer, working on such films as Tombstone (1993), Tank Girl (1995), 2 Days in the Valley (1996), The Newton Boys (1998), and Three Kings (1999). The following year, she collaborated with director/screenwriter Cameron Crowe and actor/producer Tom Cruise on Vanilla Sky (2001). The latter two films are notable for their original use of color-manipulation techniques to complement the narrative.