“Snow White and the Huntsman,” the fairy tale project that begins shooting next week in the United Kingdom with Kristen Stewart as the lead, has some tough hurdles to overcome. It’s competing with another “Snow White” project from Relativity Media that has already begun filming and features Julia Roberts as the evil queen. It’s also set to come out June 1, three months after Relativity’s “Snow White” movie will debut and close to two months before a Comic-Con International audience will be back in Hall H.
What’s a studio to do?
How about recruit fans at Comic-Con 2011 with some stills of the cast in costume, a charming British director with an impressive commercial reel and a crew of good-looking lead actors? That’s what Universal Pictures did Saturday afternoon during a panel featuring Stewart, evil queen Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth as the huntsman and Sam Claflin (“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”) as the prince.
Producers Joe Roth and Palak Patel were also present to explain their vision for this epic adventure. Patel made it clear that if the Grimm brothers were alive, they would be very proud of the “Snow White” movie that’s about to be made. Roth said he wants the film to be “like ‘Lord of the Rings’ in terms of scope and size.”
The studio was also tasked with introducing a new director to the audience. It chose to do so by showing Rupert Sanders’ commercial work on spots for Halo 3 and the Call of Duty: Black Ops spot featuring Kobe Bryant and Jimmy Kimmel.
But the fun of the panel came from the cast, with Theron providing most of the comic relief. Since the cast just met each other recently, moderator Dave Karger from Entertainment Weekly magazine conducted a series of ice-breakers, questions like “What are you like on the set? Do you like to improv?”
“I’m very well-behaved,” said Stewart, who is excited to wear her armor and carry a shield as a Snow White with little resemblance to the Disney princess that sings to the birds. “I take myself very seriously.”
“You’ll be fine, Kristen,” responded Theron, who compared her evil queen to a serial killer, one with a fantastic costume designed by Academy Award winner Colleen Atwood. “I’m an Oscar winner, so I take myself very seriously,” she said with a laugh.
Stewart got into the fun when asked whether she’s like her character. “I’d like to be more like her…. But I am the fairest in the land, and I have a seriously good heart,” she said. Added Hemsworth: “And she really likes apples.”
Sanders also introduced a photo of his eight dwarves — a literal who’s who of the British acting scene: Nick Frost, Ray Winstone, Toby Jones, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Eddie Marsan, Eddie Izzard and Stephen Graham. Why there are eight dwarves? “Because there are a few great lines when one of them gets killed,” Sanders said.
One fan asked about the casting challenges Universal had with finding its huntsman, a role Hemsworth took only after a long line of actors, including Viggo Mortensen and Tom Hardy. Said Hemsworth, fresh off his role as superhero Thor: “The teaser was impressive, the script was fantastic. I’m pretty simple. Either I like it or I don’t. This sounded like fun…. Plus there was no one else left.”
— Nicole Sperling
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