In the world of film journalism, there has been talk of 'critic-proof' films (ie: those movies that no matter how many bad reviews they rack up, the fans just don't care and will see them anyway). But when it comes to the Twilight franchise, it's almost gone beyond 'critic-proof' and straight into 'mockery-proof', because it seems like no matter how many jokes the critics make or how much snark we direct at fans, nothing can stop the love story of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. Which is good for Summit Entertainment's bottom line, but to their credit they do seem determined to up the 'dignity' factor in each installment of the fantasy romance, and prestige seems to be the word of the day. The latest news of Summit's search for respectability is courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, who are reporting that the studio reached out to Sofia Coppola, Bill Condon (Dreamgirls), and -- wait for it -- Gus Van Sant to take helm of the last installment in the franchise, Breaking Dawn.

Now I have an obsessive need to find out how a story ends sometimes, and while I wasn't willing to work my way through Meyer's opus, I did cheat a little and treat myself to some spoilers here and there. There's no doubt about it, it's going to be a tricky proposition adapting this book for the big screen (as we've discussed at length before), and if you've read it, I'm sure you will agree (I mean -- spoiler alert -- what was up with that C-section thing?). So far, only Van Sant has confirmed that he has spoken to Summit about the job, but was obviously not providing any more information than that. It's a strange short-list to be sure, and I can't even imagine the near toxic levels of ennui the story could reach if Coppola were to take the job.

After the jump: Breaking Dawn could break the bank....

Last month, it was confirmed that Summit would most likely be splitting the story into two films, and whether this was to serve the complex narrative or just to grab a little extra cash remains to be seen (I'll leave that up to you to decide). But it's unclear as to whether or not any director who takes the job is going to have to take on both films, and according to EW's sources, the studio is waiting for the final outline from Melissa Rosenberg before moving forward with selecting a director for one (or both) of them.

In the end, I guess it's for the best that the devoted still line up at the box-office for the franchise, because it is definitely starting to look like Dawn isn't going to be an exercise in budget management. The studio now has twice the work in front of them, and with rumors of 3D and a heavy F/X budget, the bill will start to add up. Especially considering that Summit probably had to shell out a pretty penny to get their principle players back for one more round of plasma-challenged love, and even an indie auteur like Coppola or Van Sant is going to cost a little extra.

What do you think of Summit's rumored short list of directors so far? Or, leave your picks for unlikely directors for Dawn in the comments below...