Early in “Snow White and the Huntsman,” several droplets of blood fall to the frozen ground in extreme slow motion, a sample not only of the menace to follow but also of first-time director Rupert Sanders’ truly painstaking attention to detail.
The shot was the last sequence filmed by the veteran commercial director, and no matter how hard the crew tried, the production’s artificial serum never had the proper viscosity or splatter. “It just looked like raspberry jam,” Sanders said. So Sanders insisted that a crew member draw about 10 teaspoons of the director’s own blood in a syringe, and that’s what audiences will see when “Snow White” opens June 1.
Though there are plenty of fairies and magical beasts in his “Snow White,” Sanders’ movie plays like a late 15th century “Gladiator.”With a script by John Lee Hancock (“The Blind Side”), Hossein Amini (“Drive”) and newcomer Evan Daugherty, “Snow White” follows the contours of the fairy tale, complete with charming woodland creatures and a passel of dwarfs, while injecting it with grit and verisimilitude. Snow White (Kristen Stewart) may be the fairest of them all, but there’s more dirt under her fingernails than most 5-year-old boys. “Trying to ground everything in reality was the most important thing to me,” Sanders said.
In his telling, Snow White is no damsel in distress. Rather, she’s both warrior and healer — she has the power to restore nature, whose balance the queen has upset. Like a vampire who consumes both flesh and earth, Ravenna has leveled the land, deforesting the home of countless wild beasts, trolls, sprites and dwarfs. “She’s a burning fire that touches the tinder of the people around her,” the director said of Snow White. “They see something in her that can make them whole again. She’s the beating heart of life.”
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