Why Catherine Hardwicke Was Paid Only $3 to Direct the 2003 Teen Girl Film ‘Thirteen’

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Filmmaker Catherine Hardwicke (“Twilight”) said she was paid $3 to direct “Thirteen” because studios didn’t want to make an R-rated film about teen girls.

Hardwicke’s film “Thirteen” turns 20 on Sunday, and while reflecting on the making of the movie — which she wrote in just six days — Hardwicke told Yahoo! Entertainment how much her paycheck was for pulling off the job despite studios rejecting the film from the jump.

“I mean, every studio and every financier said, ‘No, we can’t make it. How could we make a movie that’s gonna be R-rated with an unknown 13-year-old girl in the lead?’ Everybody said no,” Hardwicke said.

In her efforts to produce the film, Hardwick relied on independent equity financing, and by the end of it, the movie was produced with a budget of about $2 million, per Yahoo! Entertainment. It was shot in 24 days.

“We made it by hook or crook, you know? And for no money. I got paid three bucks the whole time. But when we finally made it, people were like, ‘Oh, it’s powerful. It’s moving. It’s relevant in a way to what people are going through.’”

The film centers on teenage honors student Tracy Freehand (Evan Rachel Wood) whose close-nit relationship with her mother Melanie (Holly Hunter) becomes strained when a new friend Evie and her school’s most popular girl (Nikki Reed) introduces her to sex, drugs and rebellious behavior.

Despite being paid 300 pennies, Hardwicke called the film her “little baby.”

“You know, I saw what Nikki Reed was going through at 13… Holly Hunter, Evan Rachel Wood, their performances are still so strong if you watch it now because they put their hearts into it,” Hardwicke said. “They felt it. They lived it on the day. So I love that film.”

“Thirteen” made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2003.

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