Posted May 23, 2012 by Chris Patmore in Features
 
 

Snow White & The Huntsman


As yet another adaptation of the fairy tale classic, Snow White, hits our cinemas, FilmJuice caught up with the stars and director of the film at the palatial Claridge’s Hotel in Mayfair to find out what sets this version apart from all the others.

As
yet another adaptation of the fairy tale classic, Snow White, hits our cinemas,
FilmJuice caught up with the stars and director of the film at the palatial
Claridge’s Hotel in Mayfair to find out what sets this version apart from all
the others.

The obvious place to start is with English
director Rupert Sanders – the man
behind the camera – to find out why his version is so different to all the
others that have came before.

Rupert: “I went back to the original story,
which is so rich and so relevant and has survived so long, with so many great
ideas and themes in it that an audience knows the certain iconic things they
expect to see, but it was really about turning it on its head and creating
something very epic and modern. Also, bringing this cast together to give very
strong dynamic, frightening, grounded performances.”

Kristen
Stewart
, best known for her role as Bella in the Twilight movies, rather than her emotional depth and breadth as an
actress, was cast in lead role as the ironically beautiful Snow White (having
also been auditioned for the same role in Tarsem’s
Mirror, Mirror
). Why did she choose the role?

“I always wanted to find something where I could
challenge myself, physically … and I liked that opportunity. What I really
dug about this was, you’ve got someone who has gusto, so that audience members
can take satisfaction in watching her kick ass, but she’s not a dude. She
remains so steady because we’re not built to be physically strong, so you have
to be quicker, or outsmart them, and have a heart. I hate girl-power movies
where the people you are rooting for are not girls, which is what attracted me
to the role.”

Of course, it is not the actor who chooses the
role but the director, producer and the studio (not necessarily in that order
of importance). Rupert referred to Kristen’s rebellious spirit (as showcased in
The Runaways and the forthcoming On The Road). “She’s a bit like a wild
horse; hard to hold down,” he said. “The Snow White character couldn’t be
demure and quiet, … she needed to be someone tough. She’s an unusual person,
and that’s what is so great about Kristen playing this character.”

In the role of the titular Huntsman is Aussie Chris Hemsworth, he of Thor fame, who seems to be this year’s Jessica Chastain, appearing in three
cinema releases in as many months. In this role, he has swapped his hammer for
an axe, and his cod Norse accent for a generic Celtic one. Was this just
another action role for him?

“I didn’t just choose it for the action, which
was a bonus. I initially thought it was a bit too similar to what I’d done
before, in the fighting and fantasy based world. However, I soon realised that,
with this cast, and Rupert’s vision and the script, it was a completely
different take on the fairy tale I’d known previously. It’s a much darker,
edgier, almost gothic version. It kept me guessing and it will with the
audience too.”

Charlize
“I’m a man in high heels” Theron
is the wicked queen,
whose back-story is actually explained in the film, and it is easy to see why
she was the most beautiful in the land. However, playing such an evil person
could easily result in an almost pantomime baddy. So how did she manage to keep
it on the right side of evil?

“That tone is really up to what the filmmaker
wants to do, and what he wants to tell in the narrative. For me, initially, I
need to understand what film my director is trying to make and how I can
service that. I don’t know how to work not having something that has a
foundation … based in reality … I need that as an anchor, and if you have
that, you can go big and loud … If you haven’t set up circumstances for your
character to somehow explain why they are the way they are, then you’re going
to run into trouble and it’s always going to feel a bit mechanical. So I try to
work from a place of real, and if I have that, then I feel I can push the
envelope a little bit. It’s tricky, it’s definitely a fine line. It can either
be f*cking amazing or horrible. The thing is, this is one of those showy
characters where every scene could go so many ways, in reality. We did try that
a lot, and that’s why Rupert did such a great job, because when he went into
the editing room he found the pace of the character and figured out what worked
and what didn’t work.”

Rupert added that with these archetypes you’re
expecting something big, and being a fairy tale, you can go bigger than you
would in a kitchen-sink drama.

The original Snow White movie was as much about
her time with the seven dwarfs as it was her battle with the queen. In this
version, those relationships have been considerably lessened (they don’t even
get a title credit), although they are very much present, which is more to do
with actors who play them than their significance in the story. Unlike Mirror,
Mirror, the dwarfs were played by a coterie of CG-enhanced, well-known,
although not diminutive, actors. Could it be that Mirror, Mirror had taken all
the available dwarf actors?

“That was part of the reason,” explained
director Rupert Sanders, “but we didn’t CG enhance them that much. It was much
more important to keep the performance and the person together. I didn’t want
to have little people carrying around Ray
Winstone’s
face, because then it is only a quarter of his performance. I
chose them because they are the best actors at what they do. It was really a
decision that came from who are the people and who are best to play them. It’s
surprising when you first see them, and they’re damned funny and have big
hearts. They’re tough guys that love each other, and that’s a nice part of the
film.”

Snow
White And The Huntsman is in cinemas from May 30
.


Chris Patmore