Update: Just before the start of Tuesday night’s Hit and Run premiere at LA Live, a friend sent me Kim Masters‘ Hollywood Reporter story (filed at 5:10 pm) about Universal having decided to cut Kristen Stewart loose as part of a decision to forget about a Snow White and the Huntsman sequel in favor of a solo-stud Huntsman movie starring Chris Hemsworth. Stewart, Masters reported, “will not be invited to return if the follow-up goes forward.”
Screenwriter David Koepp has also disengaged/been disengaged from the project, says Masters…whatever this actually means or implies.
“Who jettisons Stewart, a star of a certain magnitude, off a sequel to a modestly successful fantasy actioner like Snow White and the Huntsman?,” I wrote in a brief column piece as I sat in the audience before Hit and Run began. “Universal, that’s who. In so doing they [seem to have] essentially proclaimed that KStew is a devalued commodity in the wake of her betrayal of RPatz…no? Are we living in the early ’50s? Box-office-wise, Universal appears to regard her as a kind of Hester Prynne. You’re supposed to ask whether a big studio would jettison a male star off a franchise under similar circumstances.”
But when the film ended and I turned the phone back on, a message from a Universal rep claimed that Masters had gotten it wrong. “THR story is not accurate,” a Universal rep asserted. “The studio is pursuing a Huntsman spinoff but exploring all options to continue the franchise. Nobody has ditched Kristen. No directors attached, no decisions made other than to look at a Huntsman sequel/spin-off. [So] we’re exploring options to continue the franchise and no decisions have been made.”
Update: Universal Co-Chairman Donna Langley has released a statement that says “we are extremely proud of Snow White and the Huntsman and we’re currently exploring all options to continue the franchise. Any reports that Kristen Stewart has been dropped are false.”
I don’t know what the truth is, but Masters has always been a reliable reporter and not given to invention. Did Universal make an early tentative decision about going pure Huntsman and pure Hemsworth sans Stewart, and then experienced severe Twitter blowback and tried to walk it all back? Or is the real truth of the matter contained in Drew McWeeny‘s 8.15 Hitfix piece (“A Full Day of Snow White Speculation Reveals The Tabloid Appetites of Hollywood Press”), which posted at 3:10 am? Key quote: “David Koepp leaving the project is new. That’s it. Other than that, Kim Masters didn’t break news today. She simply repackaged it, sensationalized it. and caused a huge firestorm over the headline.”
Portion of letter to source, sent this morning: “Did it occur to anyone at Universal, whatever their actual calculations & determinations, that at the very least this would LOOK like they were jettisoning Kristen Stewart over a Hester Prynne morals clause? And that jettisoning her RIGHT NOW, a couple of weeks after her RPatz infidelity tabloid blowup, would make them APPEAR to be SEXIST PRIGS & INCREDIBLY CLUELESS? It would have been another thing entirely if they’d announced this a week or two BEFORE the “sordid affair with Rupert Sanders” thing broke. I’m guessing/presuming that Drew McWeeny has it right in his piece, but if you could shed any additional light it would be greatly appreciated.”