snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarfs

It doesn’t take a magic mirror to figure out the huge box office success of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is to blame for the three different Snow White projects currently in development. There’s one by Relativity, one by Universal and one by Disney. The Relativity project, called The Brothers Grimm: Snow White was reportedly just offered to Tarsem Singh, the director of the visually intense Jennifer Lopez film The Cell. That move could put Relativity in line to get their project off the ground before Universal’s competing project called Snow White and the Huntsman. Meanwhile, Disney is working on Snow White and the Seven, which features the dwarfs as Shaolin monks. Read more about these projects after the break.

Vulture broke the news of Singh’s possible involvement with The Brothers Grimm: Snow White, and also outlined the back story behind the battle of the Snow White projects. Relativity and Universal have been working symbiotically for the past few years. In fact, Relativity finances three out of every four Universal movies and are contracted to do so through 2011. Anyway, independently of that deal, the head of Relativity, Ryan Kavanaugh, bought an expensive spec script for The Brothers Grimm: Snow White a few months ago and said they wanted to produce a 3D version of the film. At the time, Relativity producer Brett Ratner had this to say about the project:

This is not your grandfather’s Snow White. Melisa [Wallack, who wrote the script] went back to the 500 year old folk tale and put  in some of the things that were missing from Walt Disney’s film. His dwarfs were miners, and here they are robbers. There is also a dragon that was in the original folk tale. Walt made one of the great movies of all time, but ours is edgy and there is more comedy. The original, made for its time, was soft compared to what we’re going to do.

A few months later, Universal also purchased a very expensive Snow White script, this one called Snow White and the Huntsman, which, as our own Russ Fischer put it, “reworks the classic fairy tale by having the Huntsman go against orders and refuse to kill Snow White, instead tagging along with her as mentor as she’s ‘trained to fight and survive.’ Snow White plus Prince of Persia, in other words.”

So, now, both projects are in development by two companies who generally work well together and neither looks like it’s going to blink, especially with the news of Singh now attached to the Relativity project. Vulture surmises that the first project to land a big time actress to play the lead – such as Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman or Scarlett Johansson – will be the one that gets rolling first. (Portman was reportedly interested in the Relativity project a few months back, but that was with Jean-Pierre Jeunet as director.)

The Disney project, Snow White and the Seven, isn’t like the other films as it has less of a dark edge and more of a family feel. Dwarfs as monks tend to do that. But still, if that’s the first movie that comes out of the three, the others are going to look reactive instead of proactive.

Surely, we all know the 1927 classic Disney version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is an idealized and dated work that is ripe for reinterpretation but isn’t one remake more than sufficient? This story of dueling projects would make sense if the projects were at studios who didn’t play nice. But Relativity and Universal do play nice. What do you think?

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