Snow White and the Huntsman may have more to overcome than just one clash with the Evil Queen.
Producer Joe Roth tells EW that he plans on making the folktale action-adventure movie into a trilogy. “It’s meant to be the first in a series of films,” he said. “This story will end, but there will be questions remaining for these three characters.”
It’s an ambitious move by the Alice in Wonderland producer, who is in a neck-and-neck competition with a rival Snow White film starring Julia Roberts. Shooting is already underway on that movie, while Roth’s film – which stars Kristen Stewart and Thor’s Chris Hemsworth as the title characters and Charlize Theron as her wicked royal highness – begins principal photography in August.
The two movies will open roughly two-and-a-half months apart next year. Roth’s movie debuts second, on June 1, but he’s hoping audience’s will be drawn in by a Lord of the Rings-style take on the centuries-old tale.
“We retain the basic story in the same way we retain the basic story of Alice, a young girl meant to be the queen who is cast out,” Roth says. “The Huntsman is a mercenary, in the sense that he’s a guy who is very able in the woods, more able than most anyone. His job is to capture runaway girls, who are all fleeing the kingdom because of the queen. He’s a nondescript bounty hunter, as we first meet him.”
But he’s no killer, Roth stresses. Snow White’s bounty is the first time he has been directed to return with only a part of the missing girl – her heart. When he finds he doesn’t have it within his to cut hers out, the two become unlikely allies – at first fleeing the Queen’s forces, and then mounting a counterattack on her kingdom.
“He’s not a nice guy, but not only that he’s someone who has lost hope and lost faith. He has lost his wife, given up on everything,” the producer says.
This take on the character of Snow White is also different from the sweetly-singing princess we’ve seen before. “She starts out not a damsel in distress, but innocent, and after 11 years of imprisonment by the Evil Queen, she escapes and learns the ways of a warrior in the woods,” according to Roth.
If the previous work of first-time feature director Rupert Sanders is any indication, expect major battle sequences. Sanders is known for harrowing (and sometimes hilarious) live-action ads for videogames Halo 3 and Call of Duty, as well as the NSFW short-film adaptation of the graphic novel Black Hole.
As for casting Stewart in the role: “Frankly, what we did, we searched high and low for an unknown. Which was my want after Alice,” he says. “As we went through it, it just became evident to me that Kristen occupies a space in the universe where she’s a terrific actress only known for one part. I hope this is a movie that will appeal to those who find Twilight appealing, but also [Stewart] is someone who has some piss and vinegar in her.”
If the “fairest of them all” is described that way, imagine how the Evil Queen will be. ”She’ll be larger than life,” Roth chuckles. “Evil without any burden of guilt.”
Expect more details when Snow White and the Huntsman makes its presentation at Comic-Con later this month.
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