As you got to know her and work with her, what were the discoveries you made about Kristen Stewart, as an actress, especially with how people perceive her from the Twilight Saga movies?
RUPERT SANDERS: I think what I realized is that she’s such a good actor that everyone thinks she’s Bella Swan. They believe that that’s her. Obviously, an actor is playing a role. She is nothing like Bella. And, I got on really well with Kristen. It was great. As I was writing stuff, she was there. We had a lot of conversations, seeing through her eyes. We really hard on developing that character together. I was just amazed at her talent, really. She’s incredibly good at her craft. She’s incredibly instinctive. She’s incredibly intuitive. She will overcome fear, like no one I’ve met, when it comes to it. She didn’t really want to ride a horse. She had a bad horse-riding accident, as a kid. When you’re riding fast on a horse, with 200 others soldiers on horses riding behind you, through surf on a beach, that’s terrifying. She really went there. She crafted the accent, and it’s flawless. She’s a stunning actor. I saw her first in Panic Room. Then, I saw her again in Into the Wild. I loved her in The Runaways. I loved her in Welcome to the Rileys. I think she’s going to be incredible in On the Road. She’s a great actor, and people just go, “Twilight girl,” which is a testament to her. She’s kept this pipeline of interesting projects going on the side, so she’s not just going to be that girl, forever more. She’s a great actor and she’s made incredibly shrewd decisions for someone who’s half my age.
Considering that, what were the challenges in ensuring that your film didn’t get distracted by the fact that this is the girl that so many people see as Bella Swan?
SANDERS: I’ve never seen the Twilight movies, so I didn’t really care that much. I met her, I really got on with her, she’s a great actor, and she was right for the character. That’s it. It was as simple as that, for me.
People haven’t gotten to see too much of her Snow White in the trailer footage thus far. Is that indicative of the movie, or are you just being really selective about how much you show?
SANDERS: No, she’s the lead. I’m not a marketing expert, but the way it’s positioned, I think we’re starting to bring her in, more and more. We don’t want to give too much away. We just want to say, “Here’s the bad person, and here’s someone who’s trying to get to her.” We’ve only done teaser trailers. The more stuff people see, the more they’ll see of her and the more they’ll be pretty blown away by what she did.
What does it add to the mythology to make this version of Snow White a warrior princess?
SANDERS: Warrior princess is something that’s external, rather than being internal to the character. She wears a suit of armor, but she’s not suddenly Bruce Lee’s adopted sister. She is wearing armor for protection, and she has to kill a queen. She’s not beheading people. She doesn’t suddenly acquire these skills. It’s very instinctual and defensive. She knows she has to kill someone, and that is abhorrent to her. That sword lies very uneasy in her hand.
How did Kristen Stewart take to the sword work?
SANDERS: I put that sword in her hand, as I would put it in any of your hands. If I told you someone was going to come through that door who had done something terrible to you and you had to kill them, I’m sure you’d f****** give them a good run for their money. That’s really how she fights. She’s no ninja or samurai. It’s purely reactive.
How did you go about finding Kristen Stewart’s British accent for the role?
SANDERS: If you’re amongst the forest and there’s knights in armor, all looking chivalrous behind you, and then Snow White says, “Is that, like, my castle?” So, it was important that she wasn’t Californian. To fit into the world, all of the characters have accents from that part of the world. Chris Hemsworth’s accent is Scottish, and Kristen’s accent is very royal English. She was really great at it, and she did the work. It’s easy to do an accent for a few minutes, but to be able to do it without thinking about it, so you can concentrate on the performance, is very hard. She worked with one of the best British dialect coaches. It’s hours of work, and she did the work so that she was flawless. She didn’t need to worry about it, and could get on with the performance.
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