If you've seen the serial killer thriller 'The Cell' or caught glimpses of Tarsem Singh's new action movie, 'Immortals,' you might be surprised to learn that the director who favors ultra-violent, entrails-heavy scenarios is directing the Snow White movie that does not feature Kristen Stewart wielding a sword. Moviefone sat down with the director (look for our upcoming chat about how 'Immortals' pushes the R-rating to its limits) and he revealed the untitled film with Lily Collins and Julia Roberts is going to be a "very sweet kiddie" movie. He's also got an idea for the title.
Your next film is Snow White...
Which is for children.
So nobody's getting disembowled?
I hope not. They asked me if I wanted to make it edgy and I said, "No interest, absolutely no interest." It's a children's movie, but my stuff tends to be polarizing. When it's for children, it's like, sickeningly kiddie, and when it's the other way, it's sickeningly graphic for people. Both are OK for me. It's comme ci comme ça that I'm terrified of.
It's interesting, because in the rival Snow White project, Snow White is out there killing people; it seems, based on 'Immortals,' that you'd be more drawn to that version.
Not at all. That's what the studio thought, that I'd want to make it edgy. It's a family movie. By the time I'm done with violence, you will not get anything other than an R rating. So I want to make a kiddie movie. It's a fairy tale for children and the family. Just embrace it. If you want to push the envelope and make Snow White edgy, I think edgy for whom? Edgy for Disney or edgy for Gasper Noé? What kind of violence do you want and I am not interested at all in it. So I got the movie that I wanted and it's a different film.
Do you consider yourself a similar type of filmmaker to Gasper Noé?
No, I think his films are fantastic. I think [Michael] Haneke is fantastic. They're not similar filmmakers at all, they're just making their personal films. I personally -- although I think my films are nothing like his -- would like to have the kind of stuff that Roman Polanski has made. Whatever he has made, you can see him in it, from 'Knife in the Water' to 'Chinatown,' you can't tell which one is more of him. In every one of them, he has his DNA in it. So I don't care if it's a fairy tale or a movie about gods or serial killers, I just want to make sure that I'm in it.
What is your DNA that you're putting in your movies?
If you can define it, it's very small. It's a very long mortal coil, if you can define it, there's a problem. Just by general token, I would say it tends to be polarizing to most people. When it's violent, it tends to be a little extreme and when it's sweet, it tends to be a little sweet, but if you haven't seen 'The Fall,' you wouldn't know what I'm talking about.
It looks like a Russian setting from the early artwork we've seen so far.
Don't believe posters and trailers. They just put that out because they're thinking, "Oh, we have to put something out, so let's put out the first drawing that was done before the director ever did a set." I was starting with the woods much more than the castle, much more, as you said, 'Alexander Nevsky' [in reference to 'Immortals' elaborate helmets] but much more Andrei Tarkovsky's 'Ivan the Terrible' [Ed note: Sergei Eisenstein actually directed 'Ivan the Terrible' and 'Alexander Nevsky'], but it's much closer to [the Spanish architect] Gaudi in a snowy place, which he's never done. So, just mix those up.
Do you have a title yet for the film?
Not yet. I wish. But apparently there's some legal stuff being sorted out.
So it's not really your decision what the title's going to be?
No, it's all legal areas. For me, 'Snow,' would be perfect, just 'Snow.'
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