Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron's new project offers an untraditional riff on the classic damsel-in-distress tale

By Anthony Breznican
July 15, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

The news going into Comic-Con is that Snow White and the Huntsman, which Universal begins shooting in August, will be a trilogy. Now it’s up to the Kristen StewartChris Hemsworth action epic to prove that this apple’s got bite. (A rival Snow White film, from Relativity and starring Julia Roberts, is already in production and is set to hit theaters in March 2012.) Producer Joe Roth (Alice in Wonderland) says his take, scheduled for a June 2012 release, won’t be the polite, whistle-while-you-work version of the fairy tale. In his film, the huntsman who spares Snow White’s life first goes on the run with her, and then — with the help of those seven little guys — helps her raise an army to wage war against the Evil Queen (Charlize Theron). ”Like Alice, in a funny way, at its heart it’s a girl-empowerment movie,” says Roth, ”but it is much more grounded, like The Lord of the Rings.” Roth adds that Stewart won the title role not just because she brings a massive fan base from the Twilight films but also because of her tart, rebellious attitude, and says that her Snow White will not be a naive victim. ”She starts out not a damsel in distress, but innocent. And after 11 years of imprisonment by the Evil Queen, she escapes and learns the ways of a warrior in the woods.” Turning sweet Snow White into a warrior princess? That’s one way to dwarf the competition.