As you may or may not know, there are roughly a bajillion Snow White projects currently in development. While some are further along than others, one of the most high profile adaptations is Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman. Directed by Rupert Sanders, the film stars Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, and Charlize Theron. Sanders and the actors were all present today for the film’s panel in Hall H, where we got our first look at what to expect from the film (hint: it’s epic, dark, and gritty).
Hit the jump for my full recap of the Snow White and the Huntsman panel, plus the first images from the film.
Moderator Dave Karger introduced director Rupert Sanders and producers Joe Roth and Palak Patel. When asked what it was that appealed to him about the Snow White story, Roth said he wanted to come up with an idea that everybody knows and find some deep seeded emotional connection to it. He wanted to do a modern version of a story that has emotional roots. Patel said Sanders was the first director he had in mind when he started to develop the project.
When asked how Universal’s film differs from Relativity’s Snow White project, Roth said they’re very different pieces. He said Snow White and the Huntsman is on the scale of Lord of the Rings, and it’s a “tough, rough male and female action movie.” He said Relativity’s film looks to be quite a bit softer. He brought up Armageddon and Deep Impact, and said they opened seven weeks apart and both did really well. He did some research and said he found that people were more likely to see Armageddon if they had seen Deep Impact. He said the 10 weeks that lie between the Snow White films is “a lifetime” in movie time.
They then showed a clip reel of commercials directed by Sanders, including Call of Duty: Black Ops and Halo 3, which the audience responded to enthusiastically (because everybody loves commericals).
Sanders said he initially wanted to create a war movie with his first foray into feature films, but he said he loves the epic scope of Snow White. He said what he does best is create very large landscapes that are full of emotion. He said to work from one of the classics is a great way to lose his cinematic virginity.
Castmembers Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, and Charlize Theron then came onstage. Stewart said their Snow White is kind of the people’s leader. Theron said the actors have only met each other briefly, since filming doesn’t start until next week, but she thinks Stewart is gonna give her a run for her money, adding “And I’m ready for it bitch, let’s go.”
Hemsworth was asked what it’s like to be in such huge movies all of a sudden. He said the take on Huntsman is different from the Snow White we’ve grown up with, and is an epic version that’s dark and gritty.
Sanders then revealed some images of the cast in their costumes as well as some test footage he put together rather quickly with different actors to give the audience an idea of what the film will be like. They shot the footage in three days on a ranch. What we saw was actually really cool. It had an almost Guillermo del Toro or Tarsem Singh feel to it, as it’s a bit stylized and full of strange mystical creatures (a guy covered in white, with pointed ears, crawled out of a raven), though it’s grounded a bit more in reality than del Toro or Singh’s work. I was actually pretty impressed with what Sanders put together with such little time, and I think with an actual budget and the film’s stars this could end up being a fairly epic and dark fantasy film.
When asked about what it’ll be like to work onset, Stewart gave her answer saying she’s ready to go and work hard and Theron replied, “Well I’m an Oscar winner so…” The crowd erupted with laughter. The cast seems to get along really well, despite having only known each other briefly, and they were all really funny. To be honest, Stewart seemed to be having much more fun on this panel than the Breaking Dawn panel earlier in the week.
Sanders recounted going to see Stewart to talk about the movie on the set of Twilight. He walked into her trailer and she was chewing on a cigarette while dressing her own wound on her stomach.
They showed images of the cast in costumes. First up were the dwarves (of which there are eight). The faces of the actors looked like they have been digitally manipulated or put onto other bodies, but I couldn’t tell if they were little people or not. Their garb was gritty and worn, and they kind of looked like a ragtag band of warriors. They didn’t specify if the actors would be digitally manipulated in the final film or if this was just for the costume test purposes.
Next was Sam Clafin as The Prince, who was done up in super shiny armor and would not be out of place in Lord of the Rings. Hemsworth as the huntsman looked decidedly badass, with worn and beaten-up clothing and a very big axe swung over his shoulder. Theron as the Queen looked dastardly. She had triangle-shaped sequins all over her dress and a super high collar, with an incredibly violent-looking dagger in her hands. Finally, Stewart looked much more like Joan of Arc than a Disney princess. She wielded a big shield, and was covered in raggedy armor.
Asked about what drew them to the project, Theron cited the fact that George Miller’s Mad Max film was pushed back and she was left without a project. She said she liked the cast, Roth, Sanders, and the idea they had of turning the classic tale upside down. She said she’s playing the Queen as a serial killer.
Overall, this panel gave a much better idea of what Snow White and the Huntsman will be. While two Snow White reboots seems excessive, I have a feeling Tarsem Singh’s version will be wildy different than this one. Huntsman looks to be very dark and super gritty (a hard PG-13 for sure), and White is more a warrior than a spurned princess. The scope is very epic as well, drawing lots of similarities to Lord of the Rings. I was pretty impressed with Sanders’ vision and I’m eager to see what he has in store.
Here’s all four images. Click for high resolution. Finally, here’s the official synopsis:
In the epic action-adventure Snow White and the Huntsman, Kristen Stewart (Twilight) plays the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen (Oscar® winner Charlize Theron) who is out to destroy her. But what the wicked ruler never imagined is that the young woman threatening her reign has been training in the art of war with a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth, Thor) who was dispatched to kill her. Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) joins the cast as the prince long enchanted by Snow White’s beauty and power.
The breathtaking new vision of the legendary tale is from Joe Roth, the producer of Alice in Wonderland, producer Sam Mercer (The Sixth Sense) and acclaimed commercial director and state-of-the-art visualist Rupert Sanders.
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