Viggo Mortensen was one of two leading contenders to assume the starring role in Universal’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, but it appears that contract has been offered to his competitor, Javier Bardem. But that won’t keep Mortensen from his return to big-budget fantasy follwing the conclusion of the Lord of the Rings series.
Mortensen is in talks to play the huntsman in Snow White and the Huntsman. Charlize Theron continues negotiations to play the evil queen, while Universal is on the lookout for a fresh face to star as Snow White. Hit the jump for more on the studio’s approach to this update on the classic fairy tale.
[Update: A new report suggests Kristen Stewart might assume the role of Snow White. Details below.]
Variety provides a brief outline:
In this new version, the huntsman (who was originally supposed to kill Snow White but ends up letting her go) becomes her protector and mentor as they try to escape from the evil queen who ordered her death.
Joe Roth (Alice in Wonderland) appears to be the primary creative force at this point — relative newcomers Evan Daugherty and Rupert Sanders will write and direct, respectively.
The studio is reportedly looking for a relative unknown for the non-huntsman title role. Variety compares it to “what Paramount did with Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit.” Steinfeld’s casting was on the extreme side of unknown — the result of a nationwide casting call. As compared to, say, Mia Wasikowski, who wowed critics on a season of In Treatment by the time she was cast in Alice in Wonderland. Plus, Ms. Steinfeld was only 13 when she was cast in True Grit. I assumed the studio was looking for a twentysomething who could pass for an on-screen teen Snow White. But the character appears to be seven years old in the source. The Steinfeld invocation is probably just an off-the-cuff comparison, but it makes me wonder how young the character is in the script… Snow White and the Huntsman will film this summer to prepare for a December 21, 2012 release date.
[Update: So much for that unknown nonsense. Heat Vision hears that Twilight star Kristen Stewart is a major contender for the role. Her name was on an early list, though by the time we heard about it Riley Keough, Felicity Jones, Bella Heathcoat, and Alicia Vikander were stronger candidates. To add another name, Sucker Punch star Emily Browning reportedly tested last week. Stay tuned — I bet the winning actress is announced in the next couple weeks.]
Mortensen has two films due in the next year. He’ll play Sigmund Freud in A Dangerous Method, which reunites the actor with his Eastern Promises/A History of Violence director David Cronenberg. Mortensen also has a small role in the upcoming adaptation of On the Road.