The Huntsman may no longer have its Snow White, but the movie seems to be making up for it by bringing on two huge Hollywood names. The upcoming film, starring Chris Hemsworth, has reportedly just added stars Jessica Chastain and Emily Blunt to what’s quickly shaping up to be a stellar cast.
A follow-up to 2012’s Snow White and The Huntsman has been in the works for several years now, but its road to the big screen hasn’t exactly been a smooth one. Over the course of the development process, the movie has undergone several drastic changes. Last summer, it was revealed that original star Kristen Stewart would not be reprising her role as Snow White in the sequel despite the fact that she was initially expected to. Instead, Universal decided to reconfigure the project as a spinoff movie focusing on the returning characters of Hemsworth’s Huntsman and Charlize Therone’s evil queen character Ravenna.
Though specific plot details still remain scarce, The Hollywood Reporter says that the new film will act as a prequel of sorts to the original. While the movie will take place in the same world as that of Snow White and the Huntsman, it will follow the Huntsman and Ravenna’s lives before they ever met Snow White.
Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, who earned a Visual Effects Oscars nod for his work on the first film, will replace original director Rupert Sanders to make his feature directorial debut. Former Walking Dead showrunner Frank Darabont, who was previously set to direct before bowing out earlier this year, penned the screenplay, with earlier drafts by Craig Mazin and Evan Spiliotopoulos.
Given the tumultuous development process, it’s no surprise that viewers and critics alike have expressed doubts about the coming film. But it seems the studio is striving to put those hesitations at ease with the addition of two of Hollywood’s most in-demand actresses, Chastain and Blunt.
So far, there are no details about either of the actresses’ characters in the film. Whereas Chastain’s participation in The Huntsman is entirely new, Blunt’s part in the move has actually been rumored for weeks. Previous reports have speculated that the Into the Woods actress has a key role as the main villain in the coming spinoff, but Universal has yet to confirm that possibility.
Regardless of who they play, there’s no question that Blunt and Chastain’s casting adds significant star power to the film and will likely help draw interest from audiences. They’re not the only just-added cast members, though. Nick Frost, who appeared in the original film as the dwarf Nion, is now also set to reprise his role, despite Deadline’s recent report that he and several other of the dwarf characters would not be returning.
Whether its talented ensemble cast will help The Huntsman make for a satisfying and well-made dark fairy tale remains to be seen. The movie is currently scheduled to hit theaters on April 22, 2016.
In the meantime, both Chastain and Blunt are keeping busy. Chastain just wrapped work on The Martian, in which she co-stars opposite Matt Damon, and will next be seen in Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak, scheduled to premiere in October. Meanwhile, Blunt is starring in the crime drama Sicario, due out in September, and is also attached to headline Rupert Friend’s directorial debut, Barton & Charlie & Checco, expected in 2016.