Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman 2 has found a director. The follow-up was a curious prospect, given that the first film—a more grounded, ethereal reimagining of the Snow White story—was met with a ho-hum response from audiences, but a solid $396 million take at the global box office overall. The fiim itself, though, became overshadowed by the behnd-the-scenes drama involving director Rupert Sanders and star Kristen Stewart. Universal remained keen on continuing on with its franchise plans, but it was unclear which direction they would be taking.
Movement sped up recently as a shortlist of directors surfaced that included Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) and Andres Muschietti (Mama), but it appears that it is veteran filmmaker Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) who will come away with the job. However, in an interesting turn of events, Stewart may be left out of the follow-up entirely. More after the jump.
Darabont was included on the previous shortlist of directors being eyed for Snow White and the Huntsman 2 alongside O’Connor and Muschietti, and The Wrap reports that he has come away the victor, as Universal is in early talks with the filmmaker to take the helm of the Huntsman sequel after sparking to the Walking Dead creator’s vision for the follow-up.
As Snow White and the Huntsman was gearing up for release in 2012, there was talk that Universal not only wanted to create a proper franchise, but also had plans to spinoff a series of films focusing on Chris Hemsworth’s Huntsman’s character. It appears that those two visions may have merged, as The Wrap notes that Darabont’s sequel plans to emphasize Hemsworth’s character while leaving Stewart out of the picture entirely. The script is not finalized, so Stewart could still possibly make an appearance in the pic, though it’s expected to be of the cameo variety. THR adds that Charlize Theron, on the other hand, will return.
I’ll admit a Snow White and the Huntsman franchise was low on my list of anticipated projects, but Darabont’s involvement adds a significant degree of interest to this sequel. After being booted from AMC’s The Walking Dead, Darabont subsequently put together the solid TNT noir series Mob City, but it was cancelled after just one season. No doubt he’s eager to step back into the film world, and I’m definitely eager to see him play with more genre-oriented material on the big screen.
Universal hopes to get Huntsman 2 into theaters by 2016, which means filming would need to begin next year. Hemsworth is currently filming Avengers: Age of Ultron and has been eyed for Shane Black’s Doc Savage, but his contract likely renders the Huntsman film a priority whenever Universal and Darabont are ready to start production.