Though superheroes and '80s classic remakes have taken the movie industry by storm this year, reimagined fairytales and fables are not far behind. In the next two years, there are an overwhelming amount of these magical revamps. Guillermo del Toro has an assumedly macabre Beauty and the Beast due out in 2014, while the action-packed Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters stars blockbuster champs Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton. Angelina Jolie, in a role she was born to play, will embody the evil enchantress Maleficent, Bryan Singer's Jack the Giant Killer stars young Brit superstar Nicholas Hoult, and Joe Wright has set his sights on The Little Mermaid. This year alone, two studios are releasing films about the porcelain princess, Snow White.
Where Snow White and the Huntsman (Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth) seems to take a sinister spin on the story, Mirror Mirror is playful and light. Hollywood A-lister Julia Roberts (the Queen), The Blind Side newcomer Lily Collins (Snow White), and The Social Network jock Armie Hammer (Prince Andrew Alcott) met with Buzzine's Emanuel Itier to give the scoop on swordfighting, fairytales, and magic mirrors.
Julia Roberts & Lily Collins
Emmanuel Itier: In what ways do you think this movie is different from the other Snow White adaptation? How does it stand on its own?
Julia Roberts: Woo, that’s a lot of stuff. For me, I feel like there’s a lot of different variations of Snow White – from the Grimms’ Fairy Tale, which is really our source material, which was a pretty dark story. And I think that story has gotten lightened up over time to what we all really know as the story of Snow White, which is the Disney animated movie, which is what we all think is the Snow White story. So it’s nice to have these two far-reaching concepts, and then we reside somewhere in the middle with Tarsem (Singh)’s magic making it a whole new story really.
EI: What type of challenge is it to play Snow White – to be her, to embody her?
Lily Collins: Every little girl and every adult woman has a bit of Snow in them, and I think that everyone embodies that princess as a kid and has an idea of who she is. So I didn’t want to try to make everybody happy with everyone’s version of Snow White. I wanted to create a real girl that kind of had the same qualities but could be a modern girl that people are friends with. So it was just making sure that I kept her down-to-earth and not some caricature of some fairy tale princess.
EI: It seems like everybody in Hollywood is falling in love with these fairy tales. There are two versions of Snow White; Sleeping Beauty in development… How is it that we love them? What is it for you that you love about these fairy tales, and maybe this one in particular? What does it say to you?
JR: I think every story has some element, especially anything that has elements of romance and conflict – all those stories are really based on Cinderella and Snow White. Pretty Woman is Cinderella in a mini-skirt. So everything sort of draws from those original, great stories that we all know from our childhood.
LC: And I think that’s also somewhere or something that adults and children can both enjoy on different levels and appreciate together, which is fun – especially in today’s day and age, to go and disappear into a fairy tale for a bit.
EI: If I give you a mirror, what would be the question you would ask the mirror? If you could ask a question, imagine it’s a magic mirror. What would it be?
LC: Will I look like this lovely lady when I’m…
LC: No, when I’m further in my career, I hope that I’m able to do the same thing she’s done, or at least try to pursue my acting in that way.
JR: You’re a good sport. The man that brings props!
EI: What about you, Julia? What would you ask if you could have a question?
JR: I’m too old to look in mirrors and ask questions. I’ve got it all figured out right here.
EI: A French genie – what would be your wish…?
JR: I have a French genie! He’s in the hallway. Serg. He is. He’s my magic genie.
Emmanuel Itier: How different do you think is this take of Snow White?
Armie Hammer: Very different. I mean, the prince does not save Snow White in this one; in fact, she saves him multiple times. So even starting there, it’s very different. It’s more of a triangle type movie, where it’s like Julia and Snow White and myself and the whole thing, so it’s a fun spin on Snow White that I think everyone can enjoy.
EI: Is it a sign of the times that women kick *ss and we suck?
AH: Oh man, I hope not. Well, women can kick as much *ss as they want, but I hope guys don’t suck. That would be a bad place to get to.
EI: What was, for you, the biggest challenge – to keep your cool between Julia Roberts and Lily Collins?
AH: No, I don’t even think I tried. I think I was just like, “Hi Julia, hi…” So I probably failed at that, but the biggest challenge for me was a lot of sword-fighting. And you don’t think about it, but your shoulders get so tired. You’re holding a sword, and all day, even if you’re just holding it straight like this, that’s a lot of weight. So by the end of the day, you’re just like, ugh! You go home, take some Advil, go to sleep, wake up the next day and do it again.
EI: What do you think are, for you, the metaphors, the messages that the story of Snow White evokes for you?
AH: I don’t know. There’s definitely a sense of self-sufficiency. It’s like: be your own person. Stand up for yourself. And there’s also the sense of the underdog can pull away a victory. And girl-power. I don’t know; tons of messages.
EI: Do you feel the pressure of the other Snow White, or it doesn’t matter because you’re first so f*ck them?
AH: You said it best. [Laughs] No, I don’t feel any pressure, I think, because we’re both very different movies. We actually made a Snow White movie that you can take your family to. They didn’t.
EI: How is it that there’s a comeback to all these fairy tales in Hollywood? What is it? Is it because we need to believe in princesses and magic?
AH: It’s actually a much more pragmatic answer than that. It’s because Hollywood has no sense of imagination, and when one idea and one trend starts to work, everybody goes, “We have to do that! We have to do that too! Let’s do that too!” Like the vampires and like the Armageddon and Deep Impact. It always comes out in groups because there’s no sense of imagination.
EI: How was it working with Tarsem? He’s such a master and a sweet guy at the same time.
AH: He has a sense of imagination. That guy has a crazy imagination. And standing on set and looking around the forest and looking around the castle, and seeing how beautiful everything looked, I had no idea it was gonna even be taken farther by Tarsem with his coloring and the way he filled in everything with his own life and all that. It was beautiful.
EI: Even a little dosage of Bollywood, right?
AH: Yeah! He had to sneak it in there.
EI: Was there a particular scene that’s gonna be memorable for you, shooting this?
AH: Yeah, there were a couple great scenes I had with Julia and Nathan (Lane) and Robert Emms, and just very funny little moments. I just remember we were all standing around set trying to figure out the comedy of the scene, and getting it all to work, and hearing Nathan do something brilliant, and then Julia, and then I’d do something, and then Robert, and it was fantastic. So it was good.
EI: If I give you this mirror, what do you see in it, and what do you want to ask the Mirror Mirror?
AH: I see myself. It’s terrifying. I think we need a better mirror. If I could ask the mirror anything in the world… When will I be allowed to just get really fat? I would love to just be able to eat everything I want. When will I be able to get fat? No kidding.
Relativity Media's 'Mirror Mirror' is released in theaters on March 30, 2012.