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Comic-Con: Snow White and The Huntsman Details Arrive, Dueling Theron and Stewart, Gritty Images

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood July 24, 2011 at 2:22AM

We've been tracking the dueling Snow Whites and herewith share more details on Universal's Snow White and the Huntsman revealed by the filmmakers and cast at Comic-Con, along with some pre-production images and footage.
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Thompson on Hollywood

We've been tracking the dueling Snow Whites and herewith share more details on Universal's Snow White and the Huntsman revealed by the filmmakers and cast at Comic-Con, along with some pre-production images and footage.

EW's Dave Karger moderated Universal's Snow White and the Huntsman panel, which included director Rupert Sanders, producers Joe Roth and Palek Patel, and stars Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron and Sam Clafin. Sanders is a first-time feature director, but showed an impressive reel of his commercials to the hordes in Hall H. The film is set to start shooting soon, so the cast members have only just met and begun to get a feel for each other.

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The issue of there being two Snow White movies in the works was addressed by Roth and Sanders. They want this to be "the definitive Grimm version." Roth says Huntsman is very different from Relativity's as yet untitled film, which has already started filming with Julia Roberts and Lily Collins. "I'd like to think of [our movie] on the scale of Lord of the Rings in terms of size and score and appetite. [It is a] tough, active, male-female picture," while Relativity's is "a softer version. "He and Sanders latched on to the idea that re-imagining a story that everyone knows and feels a connection to is exciting when you use new techniques--it's a creative a story "with emotional roots."

Sanders is creating the world of Snow White "on a massive scale," and looks forward to playing with the iconic images that we have in our hearts (the mirror, the apple, the shape-shifting queen, etc). Sanders says that what he does is "create very large landscapes full of emotion." You can see that in his commercials. But he admits commercials are limiting, like a strait jacket from which you can't really tell a story. With film, it's "an emotional ride as well as just a visual ride," and he is clearly excited to lose his "cinematic virginity" with this project.

The stars were excited to be playing iconic characters that are thrown upside down in this screenplay, by Hossein Amini, who also wrote the strong and gritty Drive. That grittiness is here too, they said. Stewart looks forward to playing a girl "who has amazing ability to channel fear, into a really focused, charged driving energy. She's also like the people's leader. Not heavy handed, she doesn't let her heart cloud her mind. Also, I get to have a sword and stuff." Check out her mock-up costume above (even a rush job by Oscar-winning Colleen Atwood results in a good one) - this is not a delicate princess tale.

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Theron says that, while she may be playing the Evil Queen, Stewart is "probably gonna give me a run for my money, and I'm ready for it, bitch, let's go!" The competitive spirit between them is strong. During the Q & A a fan asked about anticipated pranks on set, and Stewart said (with a wink) not to worry, she takes herself seriously. Theron responded, "Well I'm an Oscar-winner, so I take myself very seriously.

Theron is approaching this character like she would any other human character, be they good or bad, strong or weak. She says: "There's a lot of [the Evil Queen's] circumstances that will bleed into her action, and that's the most important thing for me. I don't just want to be evil..she's a serial killer--that's interesting for me--trying to ground it and make it real,..so watch out, Kristen."

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Stewart says the project came into her life at a good time. "[Snow] should have some mirror-breaking scenes. I'm playing someone who has no vanity whatsoever. She's never been looked at, she's a prisoner. She's someone who isn't really aware of who she is but has such a strong sense of self." Interpret that--and Stewart's discomfort with the media and transitioning from Twilight to adulthood--as you will. Roth thinks its perfect to have Stewart grow from her Twilight character to this one, a passing of the symbolic torch from one franchise to another (which Huntsman plans to be).

Sanders put together some footage from just three days of shooting on the Disney ranch backlot. He shared it with the actors and production, and then with all of us in Hall H. While he says it was "down and dirty filmmaking" only to give us a taste of the style of what's to come, it was pretty damn good. A narrator says over some impressive imagery that looks like a hybrid of Pan's Labrynth and LOTR. "Death is a mouth and you are the apple." Prep for the June 1, 2012 release.

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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.

This article is related to: Directors, Festivals, Franchises, Genres, Headliners, Independents, Studios, Production , Comic-Con, Thriller, Period, Fantasy, Classics, Kristen Stewart, Relativity, Universal/Focus Features, Costume Design


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.