SWATH IN MOVIE MAGIC MAGAZINE
via @malencasey/Thanks to @epnebelle
Transcription by: @RobstenDreams
Snow White And The Huntsman: Coming to theaters June 1, 2012
When watching the trailer for Snow White And The Huntsman, it's not surprising that many audience members are left wondering whether they're watching an adaptation of Snow White or Lord of The Rings.
"I'm a big fan of the Snow White fairy tale," offers Rupert Sanders, who makes the leap from directing commercials to feature films with this effort. "I think it's the most masculine of them all, even though it's a female lead. I feel that this was an opportunity to play that fable on a much grander scale than has even been done before, and the themes were so present in today's culture. That's really why the story has survived for so long through generations and for hundreds of years. In truth, fairy tales are a way of telling a very adult story in a way that children can understand and not be frightened by, they're all very moral tales an really great pieces of source material,"
So just who is the Snow White that audience will meet? "She's imprisoned," he responds, "she is robbed of everything she has - her family, her kingdom, and I think what upsets her the most is what's happened to the land of the people that her father, a very good leader, had cared so deeply for. She was expecting to inherit the kingdom where she could continue to rule in her father's way, but all of that was taken from her.
"She's kind of natural spirit," Sanders adds. "Very connected with earth and nature, more than just regal. She's also a reluctant hero, and yet this is very much a hero's journey. She's kind of a female Luke Skywwalker, in a way, or a cross between Luke and Leia. She has this burden of being royal, but she also had to fight to get back what's hers and I don't think she really knows how to do that. She just knows she has to reclaim her kingdom, and her journey is going from, 'I know who I am, and I know what I must do, but I don't know how to do it', to the end where she figures out what she must do, which is another great burden for her, because what she must do goes against everything within her."
A solution comes from her encounters with the Huntsman, played by Chris Hemsworth, the two of them having a relationship that would seem to be pretty different from any seen in previous adaptations of the fable.
"I think it was a great idea to bring him is as one of the central characters," Sanders opines, "because he's from such a different world; he's fought wars, he lives outside the system, and then he's kind of cheated into doing something he really doesn't want to do. But he kind of feels he has to and along the way he kind of goes with his heart. And, really what's great about it is that Snow White symbolizes life, because everything around her grows and blossoms, including other people, and the Queen is the opposite - she's death, an everything around her withers an dies. The Huntsman is a man who has lost so much is his life that he is essentially dead, but by the end of the film he rises again through Snow White, trading life for death, and in so doing finds his own existence";
It's obvious that Sanders has given all of this considerable thought. "I like to work from the thought upwards", he says with a smile, "Images to me blossom from characters and ideas rather than, 'Let's get some visual effects and slap them in and see how they work.' We wrote a very lengthily bible of the landscape, the worlds, the rules, what has happened to every-one, why the kingdom is how it is, what exists in that kingdom and the notions that Snow White is life and the Queen is death. Also the idea that Snow White in the Yin of life to the Yang of death, and those two, Snow White and the Huntsman, must bring those two things together so that the cycle of nature can continue to rotate and all of nature can fall back into its natural cycle"
Although Snow White And The Huntsman began with a strong script, it would seem that the cast would bring considerable life to the characters via their portrayals. "I wanted to make a big, epic medieval fable, very much within that world, but also wanted it to relate to the people of today," Sanders says, "all of those actors have such a cutting edge modernity that even if they're existing in world that's very well described and historic, they still imbue the film with the sense of modernity. Kristen Stewart is really strong as Snow White. She makes such great instinctual decisions and truly inhabits her character. It helped me to write her character, spending time with her, seeing the character through her eyes. She was an intrinsic part of creating the character.
"Chris Hemsworth", he elaborates, "brought everything you want in a male lead to this film. He's an incredibly talented and sensitive actor, and very good at decision making. A lot of people expect, with him coming off a superhero movie [Thor] that he's just brawn, but he's an incredibly intelligent actor, and some of the most teary-eyed moments of the film come from him.
"And then there's Charlize Theron as the Queen. She is formidable and has an incredible ability to king of tap into this dark side, but you also really feel that she's a wounded animal and you feel for her. It was very important to me not to paint her as an evil villain on a throne stroking a pussycat. I wanted to find someone who I was as involved with emotionally as I was with the lead character. She was really able to find that space between the dark brutality of the character and this wounded and empathetic side of her, which made such a great rounded character. And that was very important to me, because my goal at the outset was I wanted to make it an emotional blockbuster; I wanted to make a film that had everything you expect in this type of film, but I wanted it to be authentic and emotional. I wanted people to get carried away in the story and to laugh and cry, and I wanted them to take a journey through that world. So many of these big swash-buckling movies are great to look at, but they can leave you unsatisfied - like sushi! It looks good, but you're not quite full."
All of which does not take away from the fact that there is tremendous scope in the film. "I tend to use very few digital visual effects. I try to do as much stuff in camera as possible, so we create huge amounts of big sets and used very little green screen. We used it mainly for set extension and some of the dwarf work, but 90% of what you see is all in camera, so that meant we had to build epic sets, including three castles. We had to go out in the natural landscape a lot to get the epic scale, so it's really important to see lots of knights in shining armor and strange landscapes. You want to see huge castles - these films need that scope; you need to take people out of the every day and into the extraordinary. For me it was such a great opportunity. I always loves history books and all the knights and the flags and the regalia and the torture and the dungeons. It's really nice to be able to bring some of that to the screen.