Q: So Sam, what was the Snow White experience like for you?
Sam: “It was okay really, it was fine.” [Audience laughs.] “No it was somewhat a dream come true. When I was growing up I would run around the school playground pretending I was Robin Hood, or pretending I was a knight from the round table, so having the opportunity to wield a sword and smash a few stunt men was definitely a privilege for me.”
Q: Charlize, what was it about working with us Brits that attracted you to the project?
Charlize: “It was probably the only negative thing about the movie.” [Laughs]
“No, I actually lived here last year, I did two films back to back, and I just really liked it. It was nice. Except for the part that you don’t really get to shoot in the city – you’re driving an hour into Pinewood studios every day. It’s so glamorous!”
Q: Kristen, what was it about the role of Snow White – such an iconic role – that attracted you to the project in the first place?
Kristen: "Well I always wanted to find something where I could really challenge myself physically, I really like that... Charlize is really like me, we really will hurt ourselves for the job. I like that opportunity. But what I really dug about this was you’ve got someone who has the gusto, and as an audience member you take a lot of satisfaction in watching her kick ass. But she’s not a dude, she remains so sort of steady, we’re not built to be physically strong – it’s all about the fact you have to be smarter than someone, you have to be quicker...
Charlize: “Well, you know I am built to be strong.”
Kristen: “Yeah she’s definitely bigger.”
Charlize: "I’m a man in heels, basically..."
Kristen: “Shut up! [laughs] I mean, I hate girl power movies where the people you’re rooting for are not girls, and that was why this movie really attracted me."
Q: Now Chris, you are known for your action and you’ve swapped Thor’s hammer for an axe this time round – let’s talk about some of the action sequences. Did you get your teeth stuck in?
Chris: "Er, no – I got my nose busted, by Kristen, actually. This is the first time we’ve met since that and I prefer her sitting at that end of the table."
"No, initially I thought the movie was a little too similar to what I’d done before – the fighting and fantasy-based world – but I pretty soon realized that with Rupert’s vision, and this cast – it was a completely different take on the fairytale that I’d know previously. A much darker, edgier, gothic almost version of it. And it kept me guessing, so I think that’s what it does for an audience too."
Q: So in terms of the punching in the face incident that you had there, was that part of a scene or was that just because you were fighting over something in the canteen?
Chris: “We reached for the same muffin.”
Q: Charlize, how do you feel about your director describing you as Margaret Thatcher meets Kate Moss?
Charlize: [Turns to Rupert Sanders, the director] “Oh you’ve really started some shit. No, I love that. I am going to be referred to from now on, forever, as that. “
Q: And how did you approach the character in order to get the tone right, when this could have gone easily way over the top?
Charlize: “You know I think that you have to trust your director. Because at the end of the day, that tone is really up to what the filmmaker wants to do and how he wants to tell the narrative. So in the initial meetings for me usually it’s trying to understand what film my director is trying to make and if I can service them. I don’t know how to work not having a foundation of something that’s based in reality – I need that as an anchor, and I think that if you have that as an anchor you can go big and you can go loud, because you will always have that as the foundation. It’s always there at the core, and I think it also sets those things up. It’s when you don’t have that – if you haven’t set up circumstances for your character in order to somewhat explain why they are the way they are, then you’re going to run into trouble where it’s always going to feel a little bit mechanical. So I try to just work from a place of real, and if you have that place of real then you can push the envelope a little bit. It’s tricky. It’s definitely a fine line because it can either be fucking amazing, or horrible.”
“You know, this is one of those showy characters where every scene could go so many different ways in reality and we did try that, and you know – this guy (looks at Rupert) did a really great job. He went into the editing room and he found the beast of the character and figured out what worked and what didn’t work.”
Rupert: “I think with those archtypes you expect them to be big as well. We kept saying to ourselves ‘It’s a fairytale’, so you can go a little bit more than you would in your average kitchen sink drama – so I think she did an amazing job in grounding it in reality, and then having those moments where it can pop up a bit.
Q: Kristen, you already touched upon the fact that Snow White’s a warrior, that’s she really tough but she has this kind of vulnerable side. Which side did you prefer playing and which side do you relate to more?
Kristen: "It’s a tough one because... Nothing’s that simple. Every time Snow White needs to get up and do something active, and not be crippled by fear and turn into this really forward thing – I mean, I’m in to that. Like I said, one of the things I wanted to do was see how far I could push this. The reason they hire these big, huge hurly dudes [for action roles] is because it’s hard!"
Charlize: "Stop talking about me Kristen."
Sam: “Was that the only reason I got the job? [Much laughter from the others] Honestly, one of the first things they said to me was ‘go to the gym’.”
Q: There’s a lot of sexual tension in the film, but there are actually only two kisses – one of them dead and one of them fake. Was the idea to leave the audience, kind of, on the edge of their seat wanting more?
Charlize: "Actually, we all made-out with each other... So when Chris kissed her, I was making out with Kristen through your mouth."
Sam: "Yes, that was the best day of my life."
Charlize: "How was I Kristen?"
Sam: “Be careful…”
Kristen: “Well, I don’t like to be deceived.”
Charlize: ‘Yeah, sorry about that.”
Q: Chris, was it hard for you to maintain a Scottish accent throughout the film, considering you’ve actually got an Australian accent?
Chris: “Yeah it was. We talked about a few different sounds and things, the biggest point being that I didn’t want to do English or mid-Atlantic, or anything too close to Thor. And with the advantage of it being a fictional world, that was somewhere that we landed, and there was just a warmth and feeling of a Scottish accent. And I find it a bit like a costume, occasionally – you tweak it and you put it on and you find something that you can grab onto and then you think ‘Ah, now this is it”. It took on a bit of a life of its own. I love the music of it – it’s a very earthy sound, this accent, and he was a man of the woods, so it was fitting.”
Kristen: “It was also transient, and so not like us. He couldn’t sound just like us – it made you want to know where [he was from] it was like woah, who is this guy?”
Chris: “He was the outsider, and different.”
Q: Rupert – why was Kristen the perfect choice to play Snow White?
Charlize: [Turns to Rupert]“Yeah, why WAS she your perfect Snow White?”
Rupert Sanders: "It's a very personal question! I looked at a lot of actors, unknown and known, and when we met Kristen we saw someone who was spirited, she’s a bit like a wild horse, hard to hold down, and I like that, you know? I think that the Snow White character couldn’t be demure – she needed to be someone tough. She’s an unusual person and that’s what’s so great about her playing this character, she’s got a craziness to her that I think is right to the character."
Q: Kristen, aside from Charlize, what was the scariest thing about playing Snow White?
Kristen: "Riding a horse. The dynamic between horse and rider is so NOT for me. Don’t put a saddle on him, put him in a pasture, I want to watch him run around – I’ll run with him! But it’s cool to watch people genuinely uncomfortable on-screen."
Chris: I reckon the most uncomfortable as far as the horse riding was concerned was one particular shot where we needed to get very close to the cameras and have the close-up of Kristen on the horse, and it was like the first day of shooting – so in order to do that they had a mechanical horse, and we arrived on set with all these Spanish horse riders and horsemen who’d been brought it, all very professional and like, ‘Here are the actors, let’s see what you got’ – and I married a Spanish woman, so they’re all like, ‘Well, why do you deserve her? Show us how you ride,’ – so I’m like, ‘Where’s the horse?’, and it’s like ‘That’s it’, and they point to this half mechanical horse. So we’re on this thing, and going like this [Acts out exaggerated horse riding movement] and you couldn’t have felt more ridiculous. That was probably one of the scariest moments. If only for my pride. [Kristen laughs and joins in with Chris and his riding mime.]
Q: Charlize, does being a mum affect how you work and the roles you’ll take? And are you throwing a baby shower for Chris any time soon?
Charlize: “Why is that my job?! Yeah, I’m going to send you all my little boy’s clothes as hand-me-downs, and you can get your little girl to wear them.”
Chris: “Well then I’ll send you all my little girl’s clothes.”
Charlize: “That’s totally cool. I don’t know, I’m about to go and do a reimagination of Mad Max and I thought to myself ‘Oh, I’m probably not going to want to go and make this movie,’ when I heard that my son was coming into my life, and that all I would want to do was mope around in my pyjamas and roll around with him on the carpet, and we did that for a couple of months and it was great – but the crazy thing that happened that I wasn’t expecting, was that it made me feel really creative. Really, really creative. I started developing like crazy and started selling movies and developing more with my production company, and now the more I think about going away in June and shooting this, I’m really excited about it. I’m feel that this little innocent baby is making me more curious about the human condition."
Q: Rupert, Did you cut anything out of the film that you were sorry to lose?
Rupert: “No.” [Kristen and Chris raise their eyebrows and look at each other.]
Rupert: "There were scenes that I liked on their own, but you’re not making a collection of scenes, we’re making a film. The big picture is what you have to look at. There were scenes that I loved with Kristen and Chris in – and Charlize – actually, Sam you were quite unscathed – you might edit a little more than you need and then the story in the cutting room is like a sculpture. You have to follow the scene and then some things go. But there wasn’t anything that I think anyone was very upset about.”
Charlize: “I actually think that’s the sign of a great director. A lot of directors can get very attached to everything, and I think it’s a great sign when you can take a step back and just make a great film – not get too attached to these tiny little moments.”
Kristen: “…That meant so much, at a certain time.” [Everyone laughs.] “No I’m kidding.”
Q: So Chris, apart from the nose…
Chris: [Interrupts] "Why, what’s wrong with it?"
Q: …Did you sustain any other injuries?
Charlize: “Except for your ego. And your pride.”
Chris: “Well yeah, this was more exhausting than anything I’ve ever done before. None of it was on a green screen temperature-controlled sound stage, it was in amongst the mud and the dirt and the rain and it was freezing! You really lived and breathed the characters and the story, I’ve never felt more ‘in it’ for a longer period of time. All the cast and crew would just travel off to these obscure locations. Sam and I both at one point - there’s this one scene where we’re riding on horseback, and they’re like: ‘When you fly on in there with the other hundred behind you, jump off the horse at the last second and charge in, then form a triangle.’ And I was like, ‘What are we? The Mighty Ducks? We didn’t rehearse this.’ And then you just hear ‘ACTION’ So we take off and Sam’s a little bit in front of me and I just remember seeing his foot get caught in the stirrup as he tried to jump off and he just went…”
Sam: “I was in full armour okay?! This guy [points at Chris] was the James Dean of the medieval times in a leather jacket and flexible trousers… But I couldn’t get up. And then after smacking my face on the floor you just hear Rupert shouting ‘Carry on!’ And I’m shouting, ‘Mate, I can’t get up!’. And then Chris was trying to help, it was like a comedy sketch.
Kristen: “If he tried to lift his arm up, even just past shoulder height, he would knock the side of his head.”
Sam: “Comedy gold. “