Universal are releasing a dark re-telling of Snow White, and are looking to bring in Tom Hardy [Inception]. According to The Playlist, big names have already been connected with Snow White and the Huntsman.
They include Angelina Jolie, who the studio wants to play the role of the evil queen. Director Rupert Sanders will be making his debut on this film. Principal photography is planned to start in early 2011, and probably will need to stay that way due to the high demand for Hardy.
Here’s a synopsis for the film:
“As evidenced by the title, this new take on the fairy tale sees an expanded role for the Huntsman. In the original story, he is ordered to take Snow White into the woods and kill her, but instead lets her go. Here, the two are chained together for part of the movie as they make their escape. The Huntsman is not a love interest (fear not, the prince is still in the story) but acts more as a mentor, teaching the teen girl to fight and survive”
This movie is one of many fairy tale re-imaginings that is being produced, including Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer and Tim Burton’s Maleficent. The subject matter is quite interesting, contrary to what some may think, Snow White was not the brainchild of Walt Disney or any of his colleagues. In fact, the original story of Snow White is much older than America itself. The first known accounts of the Snow White story come to us from the Brothers Grimm, who, during the early years of the 19th century, collected and published a number of old European folktales, many of which dated back to the Middle Ages [Snow White possibly being one of them]. The original Snow White story [known in German as Schneewittchen] has several different twists that make it unique from the Disney tale we all know and love. Here are just a few:
In the Grimm tale, Snow White is but a 16-year-old girl.
The dwarfs (more than 7) DEMAND that Snow White work and cook for them in order for her to have their protection.
The evil queen step-mother actually tries to kill Snow White on three different occasions. First she ties Snow White up and leaves her for dead, only to discover that the dwarfs have freed her just in time. Second, she disguises herself as a poor peddler and combs Snow White’s hair with a poisoned brush but is again unsuccessful when the dwarfs come to save her. And finally, the part we all recognize, Snow White is poisoned by an apple.
The “handsome prince” does not meet Snow White prior to her fleeing into the woods. Instead, he stumbles upon her in her coffin and pays the dwarfs to take her and he coffin with him. While in route to his kingdom, the coffin shakes open and a piece of the poisoned apple is released from Snow White’s throat causing her to regain consciousness. The “handsome prince” and Snow White then (after vomiting the apple, not embracing in a romantic kiss) ride off into the sunset to live “happily ever after.”
The evil queen stepmother, who is shocked to see Snow White alive at the wedding of her and the prince, is hunted down by the dwarfs and is forced to dance for hours on end while wearing a pair of heated iron shoes, which eventually burn her to death.
This original version of the Snow White tale [which most experts agree probably dates back to at least the 16th century] may seem strange at first to those of us in the modern era, but it was a huge hit for those who heard it first hand. In fact, the Snow White tale was not confined to Germanic lands. In Italy, the tales of Bella Venezia and The Young Slave contain many parallels, as does the Greek story of Myrsina and the Scottish tale Gold-Tree and Silver-Tree However, the non-German tales usually depict the dwarfs as rough thugs who steal, murder, plunder, etc. but are eventually cured of their evil deeds upon seeing Snow White’s beauty [even though in an Albanian version the dwarfs basically gang rape her].
What is important to remember about these versions of the Snow White tale is that they provide an interesting glimpse into the late Middle Ages. With the rise of the Renaissance and Reformation, the role of women faced a strict dichotomy: on the one hand, you had the beauty, purity and ignorance of Snow White; on the other, you had the conspiring, vindictive and hateful nature of the evil stepmother. Such was the case for women of this era. Women were seen as unpredictable creatures who were in great need of “control” and “stability” that only a male partner [the “handsome prince” and dwarfs] could provide. Women were to be as Snow White: pure, innocent and helpless. All of this could, of course, be achieved by her acceptance of her new role in society. Without such a system, women were sure to become like the evil stepmother.