Snow White and the Huntsman

By Christopher Redmond

Mailed on June 04, 2012

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Dear Joe Roth

Dear Joe,

I'm sorry, but no one knows you. Yet as "the Producer of Alice in Wonderland", you've given yourself top billing in the Snow White and the Huntsman ad campaign. What a lame way to promote this bold and striking re-imagining of a classic fairy tale. Was there really no one on the crew you could have used to align the film with its true inspiration, Lord of the Rings?

Why not instead advertise that you have three-time Academy Award winner Colleen Atwood on board, who out-does her previous costume designs in this film and is a slam-dunk for Oscar number four? Or Andrew Ackland-Snow, who also art directed every one of the Harry Potter films? The man even has "Snow" in his name, dammit! Stretch it even farther if you have to:

From the Storyboard Artist of The Dark Knight

From the Armory Coordinator of War Horse

From the Archery Coach for Robin Hood

All these are equally true, plus they are the types of films you're better off comparing yourself to. And frankly, this Snow White is more at home in this company than with that prissy Alice.

Walt Disney immortalized the fairy tale by making her the first in a long line of princesses who could talk to animals and get rescued by handsome princes. In this beautifully shot non-Disney reboot, you've given Snow White some guts and agency, turning her escape from captivity and building of an army into a Joan of Arc tale. Using a bankable property is a smart bait and switch strategy, but you still might not catch all the audience you could have for this film unless you find a better way to get the word out.

As you know, people only really care about what the actors or director will bring to a project. You've got the Twilight vote all locked up by putting Kristen Stewart's face on all the ads as the iron-clad hero-to-be. She tries admirably in the film, and looks better than she probably ever has on screen. Only problem is she still struggles mightily when trying to bring more than one emotion to the surface at a time. She could learn a few things from Charlize Theron who plays Ravenna, the evil queen, and has both dramatic depth and beauty to spare.

You're real gamble, however, was going with first-time filmmaker Rupert Sanders. Full credit goes to you for putting together this ambitious big budget film with a completely unknown director. Hard to promote the fact he cut his fantasy chops on and Axe deodorant commercials. The latter, at least, is evidence the man knows sexy. Even his kick-ass Call of Duty: Black Ops spot opens with a drop dead gorgeous woman yielding an M:16 and a power suit. Sanders manages to bring that bravado to the project, without ever falling into brainless Sucker Punch territory.

Fact is, most people don't even know what a producer does. And unlike other positions, every producer defines his or her job differently. There are the studio stooges, looking after the budget, the creative partners who get into the thick of every decision, and even honorific titles given to people who help the film get made from the early stages. Someone with your heavy-hitting background, having directed Christmas with the Kranks _and _Revenge of the Nerds II, clearly focuses on creative. So come clean about where it came from.

Evan Daughtery, who wrote Snow White and the Huntsman as a spec script a decade ago, has no problem admitting his influence. Other films say they are "inspired by a true story" even when they bare next to no resemblance from the original source material. Why not just say "Inspired by a Peter Jackson trilogy" and get it over with?

You must have used something similar in boardrooms. The rest of the world might as well hear it:

Snow White is a sexier version of Frodo. Ravenna is a way sexier version of Saruman. Two cute fairies replace the ugly Gollum. Legolas is the prince. The Huntsman is Aragorn with better billing. And screw those other useless Hobbits, we've got seven fighting dwarfs.

See, how easy that was?

Yours truly,


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