In the battle to make anyone care about either of the duelling "Snow White" projects in the works, Universal just landed the first punch. Relativity Media's "The Brothers Grimm: Snow White" (a title that seems to be in some degree of flux) might have "The Fall" director Tarsem at the helm, Julia Roberts as the queen and Armie Hammer as the prince, but its rival, "Snow White and the Huntsman," is amassing a diminutive supporting cast that's really made us sit up and take notice.
The film has "Twilight" star Kristen Stewart as the pale-skinned princess, with Charlize Theron as her wicked stepmother, "On Stranger Tides" romantic lead Sam Clafin as the prince, and, after a long, fruitless search, "Thor" breakout Chris Hemsworth as the huntsman, a role eyed by people like Tom Hardy, Johnny Depp, Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen. But it's the actors playing the seven dwarves that show real promise: a couple of days ago, Ian McShane was cast as their leader, Caesar, and he's now been joined by almost the full compliment of British character actor favorites.
Heat Vision reports that Eddie Izzard, Toby Jones, Bob Hoskins, Eddie Marsan and Stephen Graham are all in talks to join McShane as dwarves in the picture. In the early draft of the script we have, there are at least eight dwarves, described as "barbarian warriors" rather than the miners of Disney tradition. With McShane set to play Caesar, Izzard (currently heard in "Cars 2") will be Tiberius, the biggest of the lot, Hoskins will play Constantine, the oldest, blind dwarf, and the omnipresent Jones, who's got "Captain America," "The Adventures Of Tintin" and "The Hunger Games" all coming up, will be Claudius, the most timid.
There's no solid word on who Marsan and Graham will play, but given his amazing performance in "Happy-Go-Lucky," we imagine the former's a lock to play Nero, the angriest of the group, while Graham, currently making waves on "Boardwalk Empire," could play one, or more likely both, of the twins, Hadrian and Trajan, leaving only one more, Gus, a young, beardless dwarf eager to prove his mettle, to be cast.
The casting, which includes several of our favorite character actors, is at the very least perfect, and it's certainly the first thing that's made us even faintly optimistic about this project in a long while: between that and last week's news that "Drive" scribe Hossein Amini is giving the script a polish, it's certainly looking like a more promising prospect than Tarsem's project. We'll find out if it's worked out when "Snow White and the Huntsman" opens on June 1st, 2012.