Director Rupert Sanders Interview For ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’
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, The Avengers) 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. Directed by acclaimed commercial director and state-of-the-art visualist, Rupert Sanders, ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ stars Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Sam Claflin, Noah Huntley, Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Steven Graham, and Nick Frost. The film is out now!
This classic Brothers Grimm fairytale has had many incarnations. How would you describe this particular take on Snow White?
Rupert Sanders: I would say that ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ is an epic action-adventure that really pays homage to the original Brothers Grimm fairytale. It takes those themes that have been so relevant historically and just adapts them slightly for a modern audience.
What was the casting process like for you? You got off to a great start with Charlize Theron as the Queen.
Rupert Sanders: Yeah (laughs). Casting is kind of a mercurial journey. You start with all these boards with lots of faces on them, then you start to meet people. When we met Charlize it was instant, obviously we knew most of her work and we were very excited that she was interested in the project. When we met her we went to a Dior shoot where she came out, 6 ft 4 in heals, with this gold dress on. We were all like, “Lets do this!” We had a great conversation and she wanted to do it, which was great. Then with Kristen Stewart, we looked the length and breadth of the world for an unknown actor. Then we went to Kristen and she instantly had all the qualities I felt a modern Snow White should have. She’s very spirited, she’s very rebellious, she’s obviously very beautiful. She just had all these things that I felt….for a new audience, that she was a great role model. She has this untameable quality about her, this great natural spirit, strength.
Then you’ve got Sam Claflin as Prince William and Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman. What qualities did you see in them to take on their roles?
Rupert Sander: Sam Claflin, he’s somebody who’s work I’d really admired. It was a hard role to play, as “the good guy.” But I think he created a great depth to that, that wasn’t really there on the page. He brought a wildness to that. With Chris Hemsworth, I’d seen him ‘Thor’ but it wasn’t until I finally met him that I really saw the Huntsman there. He’s so explosive, he’s so dynamic, he really puts the work in. He’s such a natural actor. He brings not only a great physical presence, but also a great emotional presence. He really is fantastic.
You put together a great group for the Dwarves, they add humour and emotional depth to the film….
Rupert Sanders: Yeah. The Dwarves, that was really an opportunity to work with all of my personal heroes. Getting those eight guys into the room was phenomenal. The Dwarves brought so much to the film. They’re a comical interlude in a way, they bring the laughs to the film. But what I thinks more important is that they bring emotion. They’re really heartfelt guys, they really love each other, they’re also mourning the loss of their race. Everyone in the film has suffered great loss, and it’s really about overcoming that loss. They are especially the vehicle of that.
The visuals are stunning, I know much of it was in camera, not much green screen?
Rupert Sanders: Pretty much, I’d say 90% of it was in camera. I don’t like to be in a green screen environment for too long, it gets quite claustrophobic. I like to get out in the world, and to have that opportunity to build that world was fantastic. We had a load of sets, we had to take over the car park at Pinewood (laughs). Pinewood is such a versatile space. The crews there are phenomenal, they really did some amazing work.
Do you have any favourite moments in the film?
Rupert Sanders: I like the hallucination scene in the dark forest, because it’s quite out there and it’s a great performance by Kristen Stewart, she really went there. She did that for about eight hours so it was an impressive feat. I’m very happy with a lot of the things that turned out in the film. I think there’s a lot of very intense, exciting, dynamic moments. It’s quite relentless, just when you think you know a world, you move onto something completely different. It’s quite full on.
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