Rupert Sanders, the director of Snow White And The Huntsman , talks of the importanceof fairy tales and oral history

Rupert Sanders made his debut in feature films with Snow White And The Huntsman , which was in the news for all the wrong reasons. In this email interview, Sanders talks about how he got attached to the film. Excerpts:

How did you first get involved in Snow White And The Huntsman ?

It was something that came to me, and I liked the material a lot. I went to a meeting and they liked my take on the story.

Why did you choose Kristen in the end, rather than an unknown like Alicia Vikander, who you were looking at originally?

I was very excited about Alicia when we started looking at unknown actors. Then we started to meet with more recognised actors within that same age group, and I think at the meeting with Kristen we felt an energy to her that was very raw, very modern, and she seemed the best fit for the character. Also, it gave the studio security because obviously she had a big fan base of people.

Why was Charlize Theron right for the role of the evil queen?

Charlize is an incredible actor and she has that amazing beauty, but she is very willing to discard that and to make herself as heinous as possible to best serve the character. She is very character-driven. She is very intelligent in the choices she makes about character.

What about Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman?

I went to see Thor and I saw a great charm to him. When I met Chris, he had this dark intensity to him as well, which was really important to the character of the Huntsman. He has just got this great physical presence and a very emotional resonance in his performance as well.

Did you want Snow White And The Huntsman to be more violent?

I think there is enough suggested gore in there. I think sometimes you need violence to serve a story. This isn’t seated in violence; it is seated in more psychological themes.

Whose idea was the casting of the dwarfs?

Mine. I wanted us to do something different with the dwarfs and I was always a bit worried about making them too cuddly. I had this terrible image of Ewoks attacking and I wanted to give them a back-story, a heart, and also strength. Ray Winstone sums it up very well by saying that he wants to bring pride back, and that they are men who have fallen from grace and have resorted to robbery and drinking. They have lost their nobility. Then they see that through Snow White they might be able to regain that.

Was it fun to create the various homage to Disney in the film?

There are a lot of homage in there. I just wanted to make sure the palette wasn’t too depressing and bleak. It is very important. I find those films that are too dark bring you down a bit and this is really what they are fighting for — this is the land that they all remember and cherish, and the queen has blackened everything. It is nice when you come out of the darkness.

Fairy tales are popular with film studios right now

I think the story has survived this long and it has probably been retold through generation after generation. A lot of these stories are in other films that don’t call themselves fairy tales. They are very much part of those classic seven ways of telling a story. Even India has The Mahabharata and all the other pieces of literature that are the cornerstones of their story telling narrative.

India has The Mahabharata and all the other pieces of literature that are the cornerstones of their story telling narrative. They are all oral stories that were recorded