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In ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’, a breathtaking new vision of the legendary tale begins.
Kristen Stewart (the ‘Twilight’ saga, ‘On the Road’) plays the only person in the land fairer than the evil Queen Ravenna (Academy Award winner Charlize Theron of ‘Prometheus’, ‘Hancock’) who is out to destroy her. But what the wicked ruler never imagined is that the young woman who has escaped her clutches and now threatens her reign has been training in the art of war with a Huntsman named Eric (Chis Hemsworth of ‘Thor’, ‘The Avengers’) who was dispatched to capture her.
The epic action-adventure is brought to the screen by Joe Roth, the billion-dollar-blockbuster producer of ‘Alice in Wonderland’, and, in his feature-film debut, acclaimed commercial director and state-of-the-art visualist Rupert Sanders.
A story of evil and beauty
Joe Roth, former chairman of 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney Studios and producer of Tim Burton’s fantastical global hit ‘Alice in Wonderland’, knew that his team had found something incredible when Evan Daugherty’s script for what would become ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ arrived at his Los Angeles-based production house, Roth Films.
At the time, Roth’s head of development (and executive producer of this film), Palak Patel, saw the potential in Daugherty’s story, which was an innovative take on the age-old Brothers Grimm tale, originally published in 1812 in the text “Kinder-und Hausmärchen” (“Children’s and Household Tales”).
Roth and Patel were also responsible for finding the man who would helm the company’s next epic action-adventure. Rupert Sanders, a highly decorated commercial director, had made his way to the top of his game with a unique visual style that distinctly branded ad campaigns such as those for the juggernaut video game Halo 3. Roth, Patel and fellow executive producer Gloria Borders grew fascinated by the uncompromising tone and impressive variety in Sanders’ work, as well as the depth of soul to his commercials.
When Roth’s team had a draft of the script with which all were comfortable, Sanders was the first and the only filmmaker to whom they sent the idea. A veteran of imaginative gaming spots, Sanders believed it was as important to reimagine the story as it was to open up a filmic Snow White to both genders. Everyone felt that Sanders’ vision and skill set offered a deft balance that would guarantee the production its green light.
Roth reflects that with this time-tested story and Sanders’ visual arsenal, he knew they were on the right track: “I loved the idea of turning this story on its head. What I realized after making ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is that if you find the right story and you put a visionary filmmaker on it—someone who’s got a real eye—and you have a modern take and use all the modern tools, you have the best of all worlds.” He tells that he found that man in Sanders: “When we looked at his commercial reel, it was clear he had a fantastic eye. I was impressed at how bright he was, and I knew he would be a fast learner.”
Admittedly, it wasn’t initially an easy sell to the British filmmaker. Recounts Sanders: “I’d been looking for a project, and I’d been close on a couple of things. Then I was sent the script, and I thought, ‘Snow White? Are you having a laugh?’ But after I read it, I thought, ‘Wow, this is an incredible opportunity to create a world that people haven’t seen before.’ What touched me about the story was that it drew on something that so many people have within them. We all read it as a child and saw the cartoon that was done in 1937—the first Disney foray into fairy tales. I loved the idea of a reinvention.”
Image Courtesy of Snow White and the Huntsman