In Universal Picture’s Snow White and the Huntsman, the first role cast was also the wickedest: Queen Ravenna.
The daughter of a sorceress, Ravenna slowly found her way to the dark side. Abducted by a vicious master when she was a girl, the only power Ravenna wielded was her astonishing beauty. Though her mother bestowed upon her an enchantment to protect her from the ravages of time, Ravenna is forced to maintain it by consuming the life force of young maidens. After she bewitched and killed Snow White’s father, King Magnus, Ravenna stalled her death and threw off the balance of life with an evil that spread like cancer across the kingdom. But her cruelty did not end there. To become truly immortal, Ravenna must consume the heart of Snow White…the moment her stepdaughter becomes the fairest in the land.
Academy Award® winner Charlize Theron was brought aboard to play the fabled monarch. Discussing his decision to cast Theron, Director, Rupert Sanders commends, “Charlize has given such staggering performances in her career, but she is also such an incredibly beautiful woman. She encompasses, more than any other actor out there, both power and beauty personified. She is Margaret Thatcher-meets-Kate Moss.”
Theron was attracted to the part because of the complex humanity of a betrayed and wounded creature—one that easily could have been drawn as a screeching stereotype. She explains a bit of the Queen’s backstory: “Ravenna’s mother instilled into her at a very young age that she can only be her true best self if she remains young and stays beautiful. She realizes that her magical powers are her survival. And that’s the road she travels.”
Though Ravenna has, according to Theron, “brutal instincts” and “an obsession with needing Snow White’s beating heart to give her immortality,” the reigning monarch hasn’t completely lost all traces of her humanity. Like Sanders, the actress appreciated the difficult lessons inherent in this timeless story. Theron shares: “Ravenna realizes that she wants something that, if she made different choices in her life, she could have had. But because of how she decided to live and the bed that she made for herself—one that she’s lying in right now—she can’t. It’s not even an option for her.”
The producer, Joe Roth, was just as pleased as Sanders was when Charlize arrived on set to begin filming and was game for the most intense of situations to get into character, including an uncomfortable swim in a tub of black oil. “Charlize gives a performance as ferocious as the one she was asking for,” adds Roth. “It’s an interesting amalgam: She’s always in control, she’s magnificent to watch and she’s fearsome.”
Opening soon in theaters near you, Snow White and the Huntsman is by Universal Pictures and distributed by Solar Entertainment.