The prequel to 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman is moving along swiftly, albeit sans Snow White. Two-time Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) is now set to join The Huntsman alongside Oscar-winner Charlize Theron (Monster), Chris Hemsworth (Blackhat), and franchise newcomer Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow). Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, a part of the Oscar-nominated visual effects team on the last film, will make his feature directorial debut this time around. Universal Pictures is planning a 2016 release.
The film looks to expand the universe established in the first film by detailing the relationship between Eric, “The Huntsman” (Hemsworth), and future Evil Queen Ravenna (Theron) before the events the previous film. Kristen Stewart, who played Snow White in the last film directed by Rupert Sanders, is not likely to return. Blunt, who was recently announced as an addition to the cast, is reportedly playing the villain and Chastain is likely portraying a love interest for Hemsworth’s character. Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead) is also slated to return as dwarf Nion. The screenplay was written by Oscar-nominated scribe Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption), who at one point was supposed to direct the second outing. The last film made $396 million worldwide and earned two Academy Awards nominations (Best Costume Design, Best Visual Effects).
This marks the latest role for the increasingly prolific Chastain. Last year, the actress appeared in four features – The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Interstellar, Miss Julie, and A Most Violent Year (the latter of which earned her both Golden Globe and Independent Spirit Award nominations). The year she will appear in Guillermo Del Toro’s anticipated horror film Crimson Peak opposite Mia Wasikowska and Tom Hiddleston, as well as Ridley Scott’s upcoming The Martian opposite Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig. Chastain is also expected to co-star in Xavier Dolan’s English-language debut The Death and Life of John F. Donovan.