Michael Gracey to Direct Disney’s China-Set Snow White Film THE ORDER OF THE SEVEN

     August 3, 2011


If you were under the impression that there are only two Snow White projects currently in development, you’re sadly mistaken. In addition to Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman and Relativity’s Untitled Snow White Project, Disney has been developing a take of their own because really, audiences have been demanding more and more Snow White movies for a long time now. Disney’s version takes place in China, and Heat Vision reports that the Mouse House has settled on commercials director and visual effects wizard Michael Gracey to bring the now-titled The Order of the Seven to life. Hit the jump for details on the 19th-century China-set story as well as the other two Snow White projects we have coming down the pipeline.

snow-white-illustration-2Disney’s take on the tale will focus more on White’s seven companions than the title character herself. The story reimagines the dwarves as an international band of 19th-century warriors who belong to a centuries-old order that has lost its way. They encounter an Englishwoman being chased by “an ancient evil” and seize the moment as their shot at redemption.

The Order of the Seven has apparently morphed into more of an action epic over the course of its development. I Am Legend director Francis Lawrence was attached to direct for a while but he has since left the project. Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) recently polished the screenplay, and Gracey will now work on storyboarding the film.

While at Comic-Con this year, I got the chance to see a bit from Snow White and the Huntsman during the film’s panel. For those trying to keep up, that one stars Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron. Director Rupert Sanders is taking a much darker approach to the film than most audiences may be expecting, and he referenced the epic scope of Lord of the Rings more than a few times. I liked what I saw, and contrasted with Tarsem Singh’s more fantastical and “sweet” Snow White for Relativity it sounds like the two films are different enough to attract audiences come next year.

However, Disney’s The Order of the Seven is quite a bit further behind production-wise than these two movies, and once the studio is ready for release audiences may be suffering from Snow White fatigue. On paper, Huntsman sounds like an action piece much like The Order of the Seven, but the test reel that Sanders showed at Comic-Con had a much more stylistic feel to it in the vein of Guillermo del Toro and Singh himself. It remains to be seen if any of these films will pop for audiences, but if Disney’s version is different enough in tone and has a fresh angle, it may still have an appeal.

There’s no word on how soon The Order of the Seven might go into production. Relativity’s Untitled Snow White Project opens March 16th, 2012, with Snow White and the Huntsman hitting theaters on June 1st, 2012. If you missed it, be sure to check out Brendan’s fantastic analysis of “The Game Theory Behind the Snow White War.”

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