At the end of last week, Relativity announced that Lily Collins had landed the plum role in Tarsem Singh‘s upcoming take on Snow White (formerly known as “Brothers Grimm: Snow White“). The actress broke out in 2009 opposite Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side” and has lined up a number of high profile upcoming films including the Taylor Lautner thriller “Abduction” as well “Mortal Instruments.” But for Tarsem, who we caught up with at WonderCon where he was promoting the forthcoming “Immortals,” maybe it was something else entirely that captured his attention.
“Eyebrows. I saw her eyebrows and I said, ‘That’s Snow White.’ If everybody says they won’t touch those eyebrows, this is Snow White. And the studio said, ‘We won’t touch the eyebrows’,” Tarsem joked. But in all seriousness, we’ve heard that Collins pretty much nailed her audition and blew away the competition, helping her secure the part.
Director Tarsem Singh is most well known for his fantastic visual style in his two previous features — “The Cell” and “The Fall” — music videos, and commercial work. His care to inject himself into every single frame of his work has previously led to much longer stretches between feature projects, but it looks as if he is ready to shed that aspect of his career with his Snow White project already in pre-production and aiming for a summer 2012 release date. Tarsem explained this shift as he told us how he came to be involved with “Immortals”:
“Usually for me genre rarely interests me. I just think, ‘can I bring enough of my DNA to get into this particular film?’ So when everybody wanted to make the film immediately I said, ‘no interest.’ It will take at least a year and a half to design it and another year and a half to make sure what I want to do ends up in the movie. It came in as that and originally I think Henry’s character was the king’s son and blah blah and everything, and in the end he’s a peasant now. So I knew it was going to evolve.”
Tarsem’s previous features have both presented two different realities with one providing something of an anchor for a second reality that let’s him get away with magnifying his visual tilt without betraying the story. When we asked how he developed an undivided but singular world for “Immortals” without abandoning his strengths, he explained, “I don’t want to be true to a particular period. That doesn’t mean that they have computers. I don’t go as far as [Baz Luhrmann’s] ‘Romeo & Juliet’ in Mexico, which I adored, but I had to kind of figure out what are the rules that apply to this world. There’s a difference between fantasy and fantastical. This movie is all in one world and it is fantastical. So it took equal amount of work, but there’s one set of rules.”
Tarsem’s dazzling eye should make both “Immortals” and Snow White a visual treat of the highest order, and it should be interesting to see what he can cook up with the tools available in the studio sandbox. “Immortals” hits on November 11th and the very busy Tarsem will deliver his Snow White film which also stars Julia Roberts and Armie Hammer, on June 29, 2012. —reporting by Sean Gillane