There have been many versions of the classic Snow White fairy tale, but none quite as bold as the one Kristen Stewart portrays in Snow White and The Huntsman. And what better actress is there than Stewart to turn this do-gooder character into a sword-fighting, armor-wearing heroine?
It’s the same premise. There’s an evil Queen, played by Charlize Theron (who really is the fairest of them all) who wants to destroy Snow White, and you’ve got your dwarves. So what’s different in director Rupert Sanders’ version of Snow White? According the Kristen Stewart, who plays her first real role as an action heroine says that while all the classic elements are still there, the story takes an even darker turn.
In Snow White and the Huntsman, Stewart plays the only person in the land fairer than the evil Queen Ravenna who is out to destroy her. But what the wicked ruler never imagined was that the young woman who has escaped her clutches and now threatens her reign has been training in the art of war with a Huntsman named Eric (Chris Hemsworth) who was dispatched to capture her.
“I think this is true to all the things you would associate with Snow White when you just hear the name,” Stewart said at the press junket. “I think her characteristics are pretty basic…she’s a good person she’s very compassionate and she has this connection to the earth and to animals. We’ve got all of that but we’ve put her in a position where it’s very difficult to maintain those qualities. We test her, and she lives in a very dangerous world and that’s not what we’re use to.”
For Stewart, the role is an important one as it moves her away from the role of Bella Swan from the Twilight movie series. Even though Bella is a strong female character, Stewart was drawn to Snow White for her heroic nature. “I do admire strong characters, but this wasn’t strong for the sake of strong,” Stewart said. “It was so feminine and so human, and I love playing a character who is someone that you’re going to root for and throw your drink on the ground and stand up and go, ‘Yeah!’”
“Snow White is initially this disconnected martyr,” she continued. “After she escapes, she’s becoming this human being again, but she’s not necessarily fighting for herself. It’s like there’s a hole that can’t be filled. Most action characters are so self-righteous and vindictive, but she won’t do that. I’ve never seen that before, and I think it’s awesome.”
Stewart also said that, unlike the scrutiny she faces day-to-day on camera, on red carpets and in photo shoots to look perfect, her Snow White lacks this vanity. “It’s really rare to play a girl that does really lack vanity,” she said. “No one can claim that. You want to look good, of course, but she’s never even seen herself. She doesn’t even know what she looks like. In almost every other role you play, you’re at least aware of yourself and might have to play a girl dealing with vanity as she grows into a woman. The fact that Snow White has absolutely none of that, and Ravenna has the ultimate opposite, says something very nice about what people find beautiful in life.”
Speaking of the beauty, Stewart said working with Oscar-winning actress Theron was a bit intimidating at first, but as she got to know the actress, her sense of humour and nuttiness helped them form a strong bond. “Some of my most favourite people in the world are the ones where I think, ‘Wow, you’re crazy!’ and I love that,” Stewart said of Theron. “I was a bit intimidated by her, not because of her beauty, because she is stunning. She’s a great actress, she’s always made bold choices and she’s got it all literally. But then, when you meet her it’s so motivating. Her energy is just in your face and she challenges you. I love people like that.”
Putting beauty aside, Stewart had the challenging task of doing her own stunts, and when you’re doing them next to a superhero, Chris Hemsworth, you need to step up your game especially when Stewart says he makes everything look so easy. “Chris is great. It was such a great dynamic on set. We’re also very different on how we approach things. Chris is at ease with everything. He knows himself very well. For me, I need anxiety to build myself up to something!”
But I suppose when you work alongside an actor as big and strong as Hemsworth, who can effortlessly wield a sword, being literally up to your shoulders in an enclosed sewer set with dozens of live rats and jumping off of a two-story building into a pool on a chilly London day for a daring escape scene is the least Stewart can do to show up a superhero and chalk one up for the girls.
Snow White and the Huntsman stars Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Toby Jones and opens Friday, June 1.