Early in"Snow White and the Huntsman,"several droplets of blood fall to the frozen ground in extreme slow motion, a sample not only of the menace to follow but also of first-time director Rupert Sanders' truly painstaking attention to detail.
The shot was the last sequence filmed by the veteran commercial director, and no matter how hard the crew tried, the production's artificial serum never had the proper viscosity or splatter. "It just looked like raspberry jam," Sanders said. So Sanders insisted that a crew member draw about 10 teaspoons of the director's own blood in a syringe, and that's what audiences will see when "Snow White" opens June 1.
What is indisputably an extreme example of show business sacrifice highlights the precision of Sanders' creative style. The 41-year-old Brit's advertisements for the video game Halo 3: ODST, Sears and Toyota have captured numerous awards for their sophisticated cinematic looks, and Sanders cemented the "Snow White" directing job based on a commercial-length preview of his take on the fable about beauty and vanity — think more Brothers Grimm, less Walt Disney.
Though there are plenty of fairies and magical beasts in his "Snow White," Sanders' movie plays like a late 15th century "Gladiator."With a script by John Lee Hancock ("The Blind Side"), Hossein Amini ("Drive") and newcomer Evan Daugherty, "Snow White" follows the contours of the fairy tale, complete with charming woodland creatures and a passel of dwarfs, while injecting it with grit and verisimilitude. Snow White (Kristen Stewart) may be the fairest of them all, but there's more dirt under her fingernails than most 5-year-old boys. "Trying to ground everything in reality was the most important thing to me," Sanders said.