Universal is quickly assembling a stellar cast for The Huntsman, its upcoming attempt to turn 2012’s box office smash Snow White & the Huntsman into a franchise property. Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain has closed a deal to star opposite Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron in the film, which takes place before Kristen Stewart’s Snow White ever entered the picture.
Emily Blunt is also primed to join The Huntsman, which tells the story of how the title character (Hemsworth) first crossed paths with Ravenna (Theron). Details beyond that are vague, but Blunt is rumored to be playing the Snow Queen, Ravenna’s powerful sister who zeroes in on the Huntsman in hopes of getting revenge after he comes searching for a stolen magic mirror. No word on the specifics of Chastain’s role just yet.
Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, a VFX specialist who was Oscar-nominated for his work on the first film, will helm, having taken the reins from previously-set director Frank Darabont (The Green Mile). He’s still expected to work from Darabont’s version of the script, which has previous drafts by Craig Mazin and Evan Spiliotopoulos.
No matter what your thoughts are on the quality of the first installment, Chastain is a veritable casting coup for the franchise. The actress finished out 2014 with roles in Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster Interstellar, J.C. Chandor’s prestige pic A Most Violent Year and Liv Ullman’s character drama Miss Julie, and she looks to continue that blend of studio and indie into the future. Her next role is in Guillermo del Toro’s horror pic Crimson Peak, which she’ll follow up with Ridley Scott-directed space thriller The Martian.
Universal will unveil The Huntsman on April 22nd, 2016.