We’re in the midst of a war, people. A Snow White war, mind you, but a war nonetheless. There are currently no less than 87 films in production that have “unique” takes on the classic fairy tale, but the two furthest along (read: the two butting heads) are Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman and Relativity’s Untitled Snow White Project. Recently, screenwriter Jason Keller spoke quite frankly about the latter, explaining what motivated Relativity to make the film in the first place, how quickly the film went into development, and how different their project is from Huntsman.
Apparently Relativity made no secret of the fact that they were producing their Snow White film in direct opposition to Universal’s, asking Keller “How do we beat that other project?” Hit the jump for the full details.
[Update: Relativity has informed us that Keller began working on the script in October 2010, based on a draft previously begun by Melisa Wallack in May 2010]
First off, in case you need a refresher as to which Snow White movie is which, Relativity’s is the one directed by Tarsem Singh and starring Julia Roberts, while Huntsman stars Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth.
Speaking with Vulture, Keller talked about how quickly Relativity’s Snow White project came together and how the studio approached the film:
“Snow White I wrote in December 2010, and that is unheard of, in terms of writing a script and going into production when it did. I’m just being very frank about it … at the end of last year, [Relativity] looked around, and they saw Universal was coming out with a Snow White. But they had a script that wasn’t really working, but they knew they wanted to try to keep that, so when they hired me, the first conversation we all had about that was, ‘How do we beat that other project?’ So it was literally something like, ‘We want to beat that other project. We are very, very motivated to do a Snow White project.’”
So, as all great movies are conceived, Relativity’s Snow White is the culmination of a pissing contest. Keller goes on to say that after the studio and Singh warmed to his pitch, they went ahead and opened the art and costume departments and started location scouting before he had even finished the script. Much to his surprise, the fast approach actually turned out fine:
“I happened to write a script that was good enough in a very short enough period of time to get Julia Roberts, and we didn’t then have to wait for art and costumes because they were already going. So it was a super-cool way to write a movie.”
While it’s easy to scoff at a film being put together with haste as its first priority, Singh’s involvement ensures that the finished product will be nothing if not unique. Keller confirms this notion, and draws a stark contrast between Relativity’s flick and Huntsman:
“Ours is not dark. I mean, I know Snow White and the Huntsman is very intense, and lots of chain mail, and armor, and Kristen Stewart has a sword. Ours is an adventure, ours is funny — it’s a comedic adventure! And there’s some great action in it. It’s stunningly gorgeous, and it’s fun … Ours will be PG or PG-13, and the other one will probably be a R. We don’t know yet. But ours is nothing like theirs.”
While I wouldn’t go so far as saying that Universal will release their big budget fairy tale movie starring the girl from Twilight with an R rating, the take definitely does look dark. Everything I heard from the filmmakers at Huntsman’s Comic-Con panel, coupled with the official images that were released, hint at something much more grounded and bleak than Singh’s version seems to be.
Whatever the case may be, we’ll have the chance to judge for ourselves soon enough. Relativity’s Untitled Snow White Project, starring Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer and Sean Bean, is set for release on March 16th, 2012, while Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman opens June 1st, 2012.