By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com March 26, 2011 at 6:30AM
As we're sure you're aware by now, there are three duelling projects retelling the tale of Snow White in development. One, Disney's "Snow and the Seven," is the furthest away -- while "Toy Story 3" writer Michael Arndt recently signed on to do a script polish, and director Francis Lawrence is still nominally attached, it has no star, and no start date. Another, Universal's "Snow White and the Huntsman," was once leading the pack, and does have Kristen Stewart signed on in the title role, but seems to have hit problems in recent days -- Charlize Theron still hasn't signed on as the villain, and Viggo Mortensen's talks have apparently collapsed.
By comparison, Relativity's entry, "The Brothers Grimm: Snow White" is having an easy time of it -- "The Fall" and "Immortals" helmer Tarsem signed on to direct, Julia Roberts is locked to play the wicked queen, and the film has a release date almost six months before the "Huntsman" version -- an undeniable advantage in the race. And now, it looks to have set up two more of its key cast members, in the shape of two of Hollywood's hottest young names.
Relativity has announced that Armie Hammer, who broke out last year as the Winklevi in "The Social Network," has officially signed on to Tarsem's film, in the role of Prince Andrew Alcott, the love interest of the heroine. This marks Hammer's second high-profile lead since the release of the David Fincher picture -- he's currently filming the role of Clyde Tolson in Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar," and the actor was also a contender for "Superman: Man of Steel," although was beaten out in that case by Henry Cavill.
Furthermore, while it's not official yet, there looks to be a top contender for the title role, according to Deadline, in the form of Saoirse Ronan. Ronan was Oscar-nominated for her role in Joe Wright's "Atonement," was the lead in Peter Jackson's "The Lovely Bones," and has reteamed with Wright on the imminent "Hanna," where she plays a child assassin. The actress is said to be 'in discussions' for the part, so it's not a certainty she'll do it, by any means -- our instinct is that, as someone not yet 17, she's too young to play opposite the 24-year-old Hammer, but it wouldn't exactly be the first time that had happened. It's also not certain what her involvement would mean for her rumored casting in "The Hobbit," although shooting on the latter will last over a year, so we imagine it doesn't rule her out.
We've taken a brief nose at a draft of Melisa Wallack's script, which surprised us somewhat -- with Tarsem at the helm, we were expecting a much darker, gothic take, akin to "Snow White & The Huntsman," but the tone's lighter and more comic, much more in the vein of "The Princess Bride," or the recent "Tangled," than anything else. But with Deadline describing it as a "revisionist adult retelling" of the story, it's entirely possible that things have darkened over the rewrites, particularly as the press release states that Jason Keller ("Machine Gun Preacher") has also been involved in the script. Assuming Ronan signs on, filming will get underway in the next few months, with a June 29th, 2012 release, in 3D, currently planned.