No other fairytale has as many varieties, offers so many liberties for interpretation and was made into a movie as often as “Snow White”. This year alone there are 2 movies in cinema and one on DVD (Snow White – A Deady Summer). Mirror, Mirror was a grandly equipped movie from Tarsem Singh with Julia Roberts as queen and Lily Collins as Snow White. Now the second version, Rupert Sanders directing debut, promises to be darker than the rather light version from Singh.
first part is only about the fairy tale Snow White itself
MORE AFTER THE CUT
First article contains content that could be considered spoilerish
The Huntsman in the new movie is not some pitiful ranger with the royal licence to kill, but a lousy captive, that is brought before the evil Queen because he has no srucple and knows the dark forest. Nobody ever really returns alive from the dark forest but the Queen wants to be sure with Snow White. The huntsman, that is accompanied by evil, royal troops, has no qualms about stealing the “escaped prisoner’s” heart.
Soon he manages to find the distraught, lost Snow White, but when he pushes her against a tree, he can’t kill her. The royal troops are ready to do it for him, but he’s faster and fights his forced-allies. He flees with Snow White, even though they suddenly have to fight a horrible creature as well.
Shortly afterwards the two walk right into a trap and seven not really trusting-looking, dwarfs present themselves and stare at the skin white as snow, lips red as blood and hair black like ebony – or in this case you should probably say: the sweating, dirty woman that’s hanging on a tree.
This we already know from the fairytale, but we find ourselves in the century of powerful women und this Snow White is just as similar to the original Snow White as she is to Xena, Catwoman or Babydoll. She’s not interested in making beds, doing the dishes or emptying the nightly pots for some dwarfes, but is trained by the not unattractive Huntsman to be a real Amazon. One day not far from now Snow Fight is supposed to end the hard rule that the evil Queen has enslaved the whole country with. And still, this killer tomboy can be stopped with a poisoned apple from the hand of some old woman…
Snow White and the Huntsman is dark fantasy at its best, a terrific mixture of action, drama and fantasticism, a welcome relief to the dominant superheros we are presented with this year. The plot is taken from the lovely fairytale world, and set into a dark, dirty fantasy-land, that the second-most-beautiful in the country rules with an iron fist.
The evil stepmother – already brilliantly represented by Diana Rigg (1987), Sigourney Weaver (1997) and Miranda Richardson (2001) – has now turned from head to toe into Charlize Theron. Queen Ravenna is a dark magician, obsessed with youth, whose mirror first flows before her feet before it stands tall and says its lines. She uses all the power from hell to turn into Miss Dark World. Charlize Theron is captivating as Ravenna. Masochist will sink to their knees, drooling, and every Gothic- Fan will shudder pleasently because of her wonderfully evil ways.
But also Snow White knows how to kick ass. The Twilight-dammed Kristen Stewart can show what she’s capable of. That she has Rock’n’Roll in her blood she already proved in Joan Jett, and as Snow White she can pull out all the stops and turn from innocent teenager, into Scream-Queen of the forest and leader of a army, that wants to storm the dark castle.
Just the Best
What starts as a story à la The Princess Bride turns into a movie that has the creepy forest from Sleepy Hollow as well as the idyllic meadows from Legend and ends in a battle that could just as well belong in Lord of the Rings. Just that Snow White and the Huntsman adds an erotic aspect, that the Tolkien-World misses. The movie doesn't take it as far as an old versio though, in which the prince (that in the movie is basically identical to the prince) impgnates her while she's in the glass coffin.
Not that all of that is very obvious but like it’s supposed to be in a good fairytale, the sexual subtext is still there. Not only when the Queen bathes in a milky substance.
If Snow White dies at all and if she does, if she does, if she ends up in the glass coffin, we won’t reveal. What we will reveal though is that at the end, she wins the Huntsman’s heart, instead of leaving him hers in the beginning.
Mr. Hemsworth, what can we expect from Snow White and the Huntsman?
The movie definitely is a darker version of the Grimm fairytale that we know from the Disney movie. SWATH is in every aspect, very epic. The width of the pictures is gigantic. We had, for example, 150 people on horses riding down the beach to attack the queen’s castle – fantastic scene that we shot in Wales. I’ve never seen anything that huge. It was like shooting Lord of the Rings or Gladiator. What I liked from the very beginning was Rupert Sanders’ vision of the movie and the fact, that it had fully developed characters. There’s no black-white-portrayal. That’s why the queen’s not evil by nature. She has her own background story. You can see, why this person turned evil. When she was a child, she suffered at the hands of a king, which is why she has this huge hate towards men now and why she’s obsessed with beauty. It’s bad experiences that made her the person she now is. And Snow White as well has her own conflicts. Just as the Huntsman, that I’m portraying, who lost all hope until he sees a ray of hope in Snow White.
The Huntsman is ordered by the queen, to find Snow White, is that right?
Yes, the Huntsman is hired. Basically, my character is, like I said, a lost soul. He’s a drunk that gets himself into dangerous situations all the time, but he doesn’t really care what happens to him or the people around him. At first, he doesn’t even question if he wants to find Snow White. He’s, in a way, forced to do it but also promised something by the Queen. So he considers his option for a bit, but agrees then. But when he meets Snow White, his conscience awakens and he sees the good Snow White radiates. That’s when he first asks himself what he’s doing here.
And the dwarfs? How was the work the Ian McShanke, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Toby Jones, Bob Hoskins, …
The dwarfs are great. Working with those “boys” or just hanging out on set and listening to Ray Winstone, Ian McShane and Bob Hoskins talk, when they tell little anecdotes or jokes, was just amazing.
You said this fairytale was dark. How did Rupert Sanders manage to convey that darkness in the movie?
If you look at some of Rupert’s commercial or short films you start to think, “Hey, this guy is pretty crazy.” (laughs) When I met him for the first time I thought: That’s actually a really nice guy, where does he take that darkness from? On his website [www.rupertsanders.com] there’s a short film called Black Hole, that is really amazingly made and pretty scary. He brought all of that into our movie as well. Rupert is really amazing when it comes to visual demonstration. From his experience from commercials he’s able to tell a story in little time. The movie is full of that imagination. He’s full of that imagination and his films are a feast for the eyes. Visually, we have an amazing story. Hopefully, we performed just as amazingly.
Did you not have any doubts because that was Rupert’s first cinema movie?
That’s only on the paper. I remember, when I was talked to about the movie for the first time and Rupert’s name fell. I started, like I said, watching a few things that he had shot. I think he did a few hundred commercials but everything with a big budget. And he completed the teaser for SWATH that looks as if it was from a movie that had already been shot for months, in two days.
What Teaser do you mean?
A short version that he presented to the people at the studio, to show them his vision for the movie. Afterwards he also showed us, Kristen, Charlize, Sam and me. It was immediately noticable that he knew exactly what he wanted to do. The teaser was just brilliant. Many of these ideas and pictures you can also find in the movie. That shows how far he’d already thought, back then. That reminds me of people like Christopher Nolan, whose movies have something very distinct. It’s the same with Rupert. I’ve never before seen anyone tell a story in such a way.
Then there’s a little synopsis followed by:
You’ve never seen the Grimm fairytale the way you will. Rupert Sanders creates with his debut a grand epic of the classic fight good vs. evil. Even though the movie wasn’t released to international press soon enough, several minute long scenes captivate with the visual pictures and opulence of a Lord of the Rings movie. Sanders takes the viewer into dark sceneries à la Pans Labyrinth, magical and pictoral sights comparable to Legend and adventorous, action-filled fighting sequences like in Robin Hood. A fantasy spectacle as a perfect preparation for the first Hobbit movie.
Scans and Translation: RKBubbles