Checking out the reviews for "Red Riding Hood" so far, it's a bit shocking just how seriously some major critics took Catherine Hardwicke's "Twilight" follow up.  Considering some of the other dredge that's been released s so far in 2011, "Riding Hood" is more entertaining than you'd expect and that's mostly because it doesn't take itself too seriously.  The film has a running gag of a werewolf stenographer for Pete's sake.

Speaking to Hardwicke last weekend, I specifically asked her about the two legendary actors in the film who seem to be having the most fun: Julie Christie and Gary Oldman.  The latter plays Solomon, a pompous religious figure scouring the countryside weeding out evil supernatural forces.  It's the sort of role Oldman can play in his sleep and still make 10 times more interesting than what how it was written on the page.  The shocker, as I noted to Hardwicke, was just how much Julie Christie appears in the film.  You don't expect so much of her after the "and Julie Christie" credit appears during the opening credits.

The iconic Oscar winner works about once a year -- if that -- and landing her was a coup for both Hardwicke and "Riding Hood" producer Leonardo DiCaprio (the re-imagining is reportedly based on an idea he had).  Hardwicke says she sealed the deal with Christie by selling her on the fact that Little Red Riding Hood (in this case, the not so little Amanda Seyfried) has a grandma more sexy and forward thinking than you'd expect in a new version of this pre-Renaissance tale.

Hardwicke was in a jovial mood that after noon and will no doubt be dumbstruck by how intentionally nasty the reviews for "Riding Hood" have been.  It's too bad, because neither she nor the film deserve it.

To check out my complete interview with Hardwicke, view the video embedded at the top of this post.  To watch my interview with Amanda Seyfried, click here.

"Red Riding Hood" is now playing nationwide.

For year round entertainment news and commentary follow Gregory Ellwood on twitter @HitFixGregory