“Alice in Wonderland” producer Joe Roth wants the Oscar-nominated actor to play the Huntsman in Universal's live-action fairy tale
Producer Joe Roth is looking to re-team with his "Alice in Wonderland" star Johnny Depp. The Oscar-nominated actor has been offered the male lead in Universal's upcoming tentpole "Snow White and the Huntsman," an individual familiar with the project has told TheWrap.
When pressed for comment, Depp's representation at UTA referred TheWrap to Universal, which refused to comment on casting rumors/offers.
The revisionist take on the classic fairy tale marks the feature directorial debut of acclaimed British commercials director Rupert Sanders, who will be working from a buzzworthy spec script by Evan Daugherty that was the subject of an intense Hollywood bidding war before Universal snapped it up for $1.5 million against more than $3 million.
The story features an expanded role for the Huntsman, who in the original story lets Snow White go after being ordered to kill her in the woods. In Daugherty's script, the Huntsman is haunted by a white wolf that killed his wife, and there's a pervasive sadness about the character that makes the void in his life feel quite real.
He'll be chained to Snow White for part of the live-action movie as the duo make their escape from a pair of bounty hunters. The Huntsman then serves as a mentor who teaches the teenage Snow White how to fight against her evil step-mother, Ravenna. And don't worry — a handsome prince is still the love interest.
"Inception" star Tom Hardy was recently reported to be circling the role of the Huntsman, but he's focused on preparing for an unknown role in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises," which starts shooting in April. However, what's really interesting is that Hardy seems to have been offered the Huntsman role ahead of Depp, signaling Hardy's fast-rising status in Hollywood.
It's possible, of course, that producers doubted they could get Depp, who is as busy as anyone in the entertainment industry. Depp has "The Tourist" opening in December, "Rango" opening in March, "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" opening in May, plus the indie drama "The Rum Diary" opening sometime next year as well, and he'll likely have to do a ton of publicity for all of those movies.
Meanwhile, Depp has been linked to a dozen other projects around town, including Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows," Gore Verbinski's "The Lone Ranger," Rob Marshall's remake of "The Thin Man" and several more projects, including, possibly, Kathryn Bigelow's "Sleeping Dogs" (aka "Triple Frontier").
Universal is looking to start production on "Snow White and the Huntsman" in January, so Depp does have a small window of availability around that time. The studio announced on Friday that it plans to release the film on Dec. 21, 2012, and the holiday release proves that it's a high priority for Universal.