Saw Snow White and the Huntsman yesterday. This after listening to the interview with the original writer, Evan Daugherty. In the interview, the guy sounds real down-to-earth, and I was really hoping the movie would be good, because it’s always great to see nice guys succeed.
Unfortunately, no dice. Of course, no movie is better for having Kristen Stewart in it, but surprisingly she wasn’t the worst thing about this one. The script was just awful, to the point where I had to stifle my laughter more and more as the film went on at the ludicrous attempts to evoke some kind of empathy. I cared about none of the characters (maybe half of one of them). And to top it all off, the art direction was just plain disappointing. Although they had this great effect of watching the queen get older and younger constantly, the scenes when she sucks the life out of people and leaves them old and haggard were simply anticlimactic. Charlize Theron, bless her heart, did her best with what she was given, but she was given a stereotype with no subtext, so it wasn’t much to go on.
Which all brings me back to the title of this post: The concept wasn’t decent, but not $3.2 million decent, so the original script must have been better that the bile they eventually put on screen. So why would you pay $3.2 million for a script if you’re just going to tweak it to death?
You hear horror stories about this all the time: studio buys script, and then director wants to change it and A-list actor wants to change it and producer wants to change it and before you know it it’s a shell of what it once was. And this was no different. They spent several months working with the author and then replaced him with two other writers with “industry cred” so that if the movie tanked they couldn’t blame it on overpaying for a script from an unproduced writer.
Well guess what? If you have to rewrite it, it’s not worth $3.2 million. At that point you’re buying a concept, or maybe a concept and an outline, but not a script. And if it is worth $3.2 million, you might consider leaving it the f*** alone.