Stewart dropped from Snow White sequel
Snow White and the Huntsman.
Did you hear a strange and unearthly howl of pain yesterday afternoon? Unfortunately, though that voice cried out in terror, it was not suddenly silenced: it was me, reading The Hollywood Reporter’s latest exclusive, and boy are you about to hear about it.
Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Stewart in Snow White and the Huntsman.
Word has it Kristen Stewart has been dropped from Universal’s planned Snow White & The Huntsman sequel. Take a moment to think about that while you read on.
Kristen Stewart in Snow White and the Huntsman.
So sayeth THR’s Kim Masters, “Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the sequel to June's Snow White, which starred Stewart, [Chris] Hemsworth and Charlize Theron, is being reconceived as a spinoff movie. It's unclear whether director Rupert Sanders will return, though one source with ties to the production says he will.”
Both US and Deadline, however, are still pushing the idea that Universal is “exploring” the idea of a spin-off featuring Hemsworth’s Huntsman. As Deadline’s Mike Fleming notes, “Studio likes the spinoff idea greatly.”
“No decisions have been made” is typical Hollywoodese, but regardless of whether Stewart has been dropped or not, it means that the studio is at the very least seriously considering firing the star who played a large part in helping Snow White & The Huntsman bring in $400 million worldwide. And that speaks pretty loudly to me.
So, has anyone got any ideas as to why Stewart might not be involved in the sequel? Could it be because of her “indiscretion” (and might I add we have no idea what that actually entailed) with Snow White’s director, Rupert Sanders?
Let’s talk business first, because I find it calming. Less than a week ago, Stewart was on lock for the sequel, while Sanders was not; her contract contained sequel options and his didn’t. As impressive as Sanders’ CV is (he has directed a number of award-winning advertisements), I find it hard to believe that he has all of a sudden amassed a legal team with more clout than Stewart’s.
As THR’s piece notes, “It is highly unusual for Hollywood studios to drop stars of franchises between the first and second installments. The original plan, according to sources, was to make two films featuring the Snow White character and a third film spinning off the Huntsman, similar to how Fox's X-Men series has spun off Wolverine.”
Having read Evan Daugherty’s original script, which was later polished by Hossein Amini and John Lee Hancock, I can almost believe Universal’s purported decision to pursue the Huntsman’s arc; Daugherty’s script focused heavily on the death of Huntsman’s wife and his drive to avenge her. They could lift liberally from that script, give him a story credit, and Bob’s your uncle. Hemsworth’s star is on the rise, and I imagine they think they could piggyback off audience goodwill from The Avengers (if his role in the sure-to-stink remake of Red Dawn doesn’t dent it in the meantime).
However, there’s an elephant in the boardroom here, and it’s written in letters bigger than the Hollywood sign: SEXISM.
Regardless of what happened between Stewart and Sanders, surely - though it’s all morally relative - Sanders is the one “more” at fault, from a professional position. Specifically, having been in a position of power over his much younger star.
(Not to mention married with children, which in the sick-making colisseum of public opinion and moral holier-than-thou-ism, is surely worse than single without children.)
And from a purely professional/commercial standpoint, Stewart is the tried and tested quantity. She topped Forbes Magazine’s recent ‘Best Actors For The Buck’ list - that is, she offers the best return for a studio’s investment: “For every $1 Stewart is paid, her films earn an average $55.83”. In other words, throw in a canny marketing campaign - as Snow White did, appealing to male moviegoers with a battle-focused series of trailers and ads - and you’ve got a guaranteed return, if not a mega-hit.
In other words, it’s hard to see this “exploring options to continue the franchise” as anything other than sexism and slut-shaming, pure and simple. Stewart has tarnished the brand (both Snow White and her own), and must be cast out.
Compare this to the infinite number of second chances afforded to her male peers, whose “bad behaviour” goes beyond private indiscretions and includes public drunkenness, domestic violence, drug use and sexual assault. Look at Robert Downey Jr’s cut-and-come-again fame during the ‘90s. Look at Charlie Sheen. Look at any number of male stars who rooted their co-stars and co-workers. How many of them have been punished in this fashion? How many of them had to issue strange, tearful statements to People magazine to beg for forgiveness?
It’s also possible that Universal have bowed to the pressure of the Twilight army, to whom Stewart has always been an obstacle in their pursuit of Robert Pattinson.
Gossip writer Lainey nailed it in the immediate washup of the “scandal”, noting that Stewart’s indiscretions played perfectly into the script written for her by gossipmongers and fans. “The reason she’s being labeled this way isn’t just because she was with another man. Even a married man. It’s not even because she cheated on the world’s most beloved sexualized Fraggle. She is labeled this way because she’s a bitch. Long before this scandal erupted, Stewart wasn’t “nice”. She wasn’t sweet. She didn’t go out of her way to be liked. Maybe this is because, as I’m told, she’s very shy. Maybe it’s because she’s fundamentally unpleasant. Who cares? All we need to know is that ‘bitch’ is a gateway for ‘slut’.”
For my insignificant two cents, I doubt that much, if anything, we “know” about the actress is true.
I interviewed Stewart the afternoon before “those” pictures hit the press (the interview will run in Sunday Life in the next month or so), at a long-lead press junket for the final instalment of The Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn Pt 2. In over a decade of what could loosely be termed entertainment journalism, I have only once or twice been as impressed by an artist as I was while speaking with Stewart.
She was confident, kind, generous with her time and answers, and whip smart. Sure, she’s an actor, but even the finest actors or the most eloquent songwriters can turn out to be belligerent or just plain boring in real life. It’s hard to talk to Stewart and not come away thinking she’s the real deal. The key is the ‘off the record’ time, when the tape recorder is switched off; if the interviewee switches off, too, and looks for the exit light, you know you’ve been played. Stewart, on the other hand, seemed genuinely happy to talk about Comic-Con, hairdressing, costuming and nerds.
The odd, rarefied air of the press junket can mess with your mind, leading you to think you’ve made more of a connection than you actually have. (I like to diffuse my own illusions by referring to them as “My close personal friend, [insert name here]”.) In that way, it’s a bit like a film set, which is itself a bit like a play, or a uni film, or the school musical. Connections are forged under pressure, and emotions run riot; I must have “fallen in love” with at least ten people through the course of my acting “career” for this reason.
Whatever you think of Stewart and Sanders’ affair, it’s easy to at least imagine the circumstances that gave life to it, and to appreciate the otherworldly, no-consequences atmosphere of Hollywood that led them to throw caution to the wind.
It’s just a shame to be reminded that in this supposedly enlightened age, we live in a world where the woman in that scenario is the one who is most likely to be punished, while the man gets a second (and third, and fourth...) chance.