By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com May 10, 2011 at 1:17AM
We Hear He Used A Felt-Tip Pen Sign His Contract
Update: "Thor" has grossed a whopping $283 million worldwide. Chris Hemsworth was smart enough to wait and see if the picture was a hit before he signed on for "Snow White and the Huntsman" because he had already been in talks before the movie opened. Now, as you suspected, he's got the gig.
So, "Thor" had its big U.S. debut over the weekend, and the news is... mixed. On one hand, the film's $65 million opening wasn't a disaster at all, on the other it was about in line with "The Incredible Hulk" when you add in inflation and 3D surpluses, and that was seen as something of a disappointment financially. But at the same time, word of mouth seems good, and, as is the trend these days, the film's kicking ass internationally, already taking in $175 million. While it remains to be seen whether a sequel ("For A Few Dollars Thor," perhaps?) gets a greenlight, there's one person for whom the film has been an unqualified success: its star, Australian actor Chris Hemsworth.
The 27-year-old veteran of soap opera "Home & Away" was a relative unknown to American audiences when he landed the role -- aside from brief roles in "Star Trek" and the underrated thriller "A Perfect Getaway" -- but his performance as the Norse god turned superhero has firmly landed him on the A-list: as we said in yesterday's "the Good, the Bad and the Ugly" feature, he's easily the best thing in the film and a bona fide leading man was born. Now that his press duties on "Thor" are done, the actor's off reprising the role in "Marvel's The Avengers," but it looks like he's also close to locking his follow-up gig down, as Variety now reports that the actor is officially in talks to star in Universal's troubled project "Snow White and the Huntsman."
The film, a retelling of the classic fairy tale which places the woodsman who is meant to bump off the titular princess front and center in a sort of buddy movie, was one of the biggest spec sales of last year, with the studio immediately putting it on the fast track, and placing super-hot commercials director Rupert Sanders at the helm. They managed to fill most parts with relative ease, with Charlize Theron set to play the evil queen, Kristen Stewart as Snow White, and "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" star Sam Clafin landing the role of the prince last week. But the more prominent role of the huntsman, Eric, has been trickier.
Tom Hardy was the first to field an offer, opting instead for "The Dark Knight Rises," while Johnny Depp and Michael Fassbender followed. Viggo Mortensen was in advanced talks for the project, but bailed at the last minute, while Hugh Jackman was next to turn it down, and fellow Aussie Joel Edgerton was also being courted, but opted for Kathryn Bigelow's "Kill Bin Laden" instead, and the project started to have something of a whiff around it.
With Tarsem's rival project "The Brothers Grimm: Snow White," a film with a six month head start on the release schedule, gearing up to shoot with Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer and Nathan Lane, it was starting to look like make-or-break time for the Huntsman project, so it's fortunate that they seem to be closer to landing a star in Hemsworth, who was reported to be a front-runner for the part a few weeks back, although it's notable that he's significantly younger than recent actors courted for the role, suggesting the extent to which Universal have had to widen their search.
Assuming there aren't any last minute snags like there were with Mortensen -- scheduling conflicts with "The Avengers" seem to have been worked out now -- the film's now on target to make its September start date, with only the role of Finn, the queen's henchman, set to be cast. "Snow White and the Huntsman" will hit theaters on the plum date of December 21st, 2012, when we'll find out if it can vanquish not only the rival "Snow White" project (which, to be fair, is quite different, much broader in tone and more family-friendly, closer to "The Princess Bride"), but also the first part of "The Hobbit" which is tentatively set for release around the same time.