We Chat to Rupert Sanders And Get the Behind Scenes Goss on Charlize Theron & Kristen Stewart on the Set of Snow White and the Huntsman
With the premiere of Snow White and the Huntsman in Australia last week, we headed to The Rocks to interview director Rupert Sanders, and find out what it was like working on an epic film with a star-studded cast. With Kristen Stewart playing Snow White, Charlize Theron as Ravenna the evil queen, and Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman, we were keen to get the scoop on all the behind the scenes goss.
Allison: When producer Joe Roth was looking for a director he sent the script to you first, how does it feel to be first choice from such a well-respected producer?
Rupert: It was great, it was great you know. It was an honour to be the first person, the only person they went to with the script, and it was just lucky that I had a take they were interested in. They were very excited by my early ideas.
Allison: That’s fantastic. And I heard you did a bit of a quick demo to show them.
Rupert: Yeah you need to show a visual presentation . . . I shot three minutes of the film, you know some of the key iconic images that we all did practically and very kind of low budget, but it showed them the scope and the tone of the film and that’s when they hit the green button and released the funds.
Allison: I heard that the image of the fairies coming out of the birds was one of those scenes on the demo, it was amazing stuff.
Rupert: Yeah and the melting mirror, it was actually my nephew coming out of a feathery curtain in his white underpants covered in white talcum powder. It’s on the Blueray, it’s actually quite fascinating to see.
Allison: This being your feature film debut, what was it like to work with such high level stars?
Rupert: It was great. Well, I think Tarantino summed it up very well, he said, ‘It’s better than working with shit actors.’
Allison: (I laugh) And I agree. Makes your job much easier.
Rupert: (laughs) Yeah exactly.
Allison: Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart have some very confrontational scenes in the film, how were they off set together?
Rupert: Very good you know we all got on very well, it was quite a tight little family, even though it was a big film we were kind of left to our own devices and running the ship along and you know you do put a lot of work into it and it’s great to go into it with people who share that goal and admire each other and work well together.
Allison: Did Charlize and Kristen do anything fun off set together to relax?
Rupert: You know it’s hard work, you work hard and you go home and get a few hours sleep then come back the next morning in the freezing cold, it’s hard to relax.
Allison: You mentioned Charlize is, ‘power and beauty personified.’ How did you feel about getting this Oscar winner to crawl through a pool of oil and do all these gross stunts?
Rupert: You know the reason she got her Oscar is because she makes those calls and she does those things. If the part needs it she’ll do it, she’ll go to the edges of her comfort level in order to push her performance and that’s great.
Allison: And there was no hesitation for her with all the makeup needed for the aging scenes?
Rupert: No and that’s why she was so good for this, she was like, ‘Fuck it, make me as ugly as you can, I want to be horrid at the end of the day.’ She did well.
Allison: I heard that Kristen accidentally punched Chris in one of the scenes. How did that go?
Rupert: Um . . . you know it’s like when you’re trying to get realism, sometimes, you know, those things happen and Chris got a big punch in the nose.
Allison: Any damage?
Rupert: Yeah, his nose swelled up and then we had to shoot his reverses for the rest of the day but Kristen jumped in and said, ‘Sorry man, sorry, I’m so sorry!’
Allison: In the film the dwarves were a rowdy lot; I heard they made some mischief for you as well.
Rupert: They’re quite a bunch to wrangle . . . they weren’t difficult . . . they were mischievous and funny. We always relished the days of the dwarves because they were just such fun to be around.
Allison: I bet they egg each other on as well.
Rupert: Yeah, they’re total piss takers
Allison: The character of Snow White takes on a very active role in this film. Was Kristen hesitant in doing a lot of the stunts herself?
Rupert: No she wasn’t, she understood that to get the best sense of fear you need to put yourself in that position as well. She did things that she didn’t want to do and she wasn’t comfortable doing, but I think it really shows in the performance; it’s an incredible performance.
Allison: Absolutely, especially when she’s escaping and jumps off the cliff.
Rupert: Yeah and you see that and it is fear because she’s like . . . trying to jump.
Allison: And then in the sewer scenes there were rats and other creatures.
Rupert: Yeah there were rats in the sewer, but the coldest (scene for Kristen) was jumping in (the water), that was in December, jumping into this freezing outdoor tank. She got into the sea in Wales in winter, she got in a lake in winter, you know she really went for it.
Allison: The character of the Huntsman was supposed to be an older character, choosing someone like Chris Hemsworth, were you trying to appeal to younger audiences?
Rupert: No, I think it was good because it opened a dynamic between her and him that wouldn’t have been there with like, a seventy-year-old guy.
Allison: Yeah that would be a bit creepy.
Rupert: Well it’s not a love story you know, and I think that’s important. People are always like, ‘Where’s the love?’ and it’s like, ‘It’s not about that, it’s about one woman’s struggle to reclaim her kingdom.’ They’re making war, they can make love later. You know, fairytales aren’t really love stories. They kind of end with the prince arriving and the man arriving and that’s kind of what this film is.
Allison: I like how in the film Snow White was more interested in regaining her throne then falling in love.
Rupert: Yeah exactly she’s not worried about those two (love interests) and what they want from her, she’s focused.
Allison: You wanted to reinvent the story of the Snow White because it is often a very female orientated story. Do you think with Kristen and Chris you’ve opened this story up, especially with all the action scenes?
Rupert: Yeah, I think people like action to be honest, it’s important in a film of this scale to keep the thrill exciting. I don’t think there’s ever any action for action’s sake – you never get action wary like you do in some blockbusters that’s just going for hours and hours and after a while you’re just like, ‘What the fuck am I watching it’s just like exploding pixels.’ I think it’s important that our film has an emotional resonance and a depth to it, you know layered symbols. I think it’s a film you need to watch a couple of times because there is a lot of layers in it, and everyone I’ve spoken to said they loved it the first time, then they’ve gone and seen it a second and third and said ‘Wow I really understand it now.’ Which is great you know, I think too many films take from people and don’t give anything back. I hope that with this people leave with some emotional connection.
Allison: For many films in this genre, there’s often so much romance that it overshadows the plot. Snow White and the Huntsman is very different in this regard.
Rupert: Yeah exactly, I mean there are other versions of those kind of things that try to be something that fairytales aren’t, but we decided we wanted to be a fairytale.
Allison: What has been your favourite part of the journey in creating Snow White & The Huntsman?
Rupert: I don’t know it’s all been so quick and so crazy that I haven’t really sat back and figured it out yet, but it’s certainly been a wild ride.
And in case you missed it, check out our review of Show White and the Huntsman here.
Hit the cinemas now to see the unique take on this well-known fairytale, Snow White and the Huntsman, as directed by Rupert Sanders!
Category: Film & TV