Which Overqualified Director Should Helm ‘Snow White and the Huntsman 2’?

Kristen Stewart Dead in Snow White and the Huntsman

Universal Pictures

Deciding not to direct Ant-Man is the big fad right now. Everybody’s doing it! But while Marvel continues to play the arcade claw game with strictly comedic directors, the dramatic ones are apparently being eyed elsewhere for another franchise. Universal needs a director for the 2016-slated sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, a film that was met with a resounding “meh” back in 2012 (and then immediately blurred together with Alice in Wonderland and Jack the Giant Slayer in the minds of people who’ve seen too many recent dark and edgy live-action fairy tales). And so far, the studio is looking at three truly terrific choices, the names of which have been shared by Deadline.

We weigh the benefits of each below.

Frank Darabont

The Shawshank Redemption. The Mist. The Walking Dead. Darabont is the master of slow-paced, suspenseful melancholy that takes a quick snack break for something horribly upsetting. Like how The Mist is a pleasant how-to guide on disaster relief and supermarket safety, and then — POW! — a guy explodes and a bunch of spiders come out. With his experience with The Walking Dead, he might be able to unearth something new (say, “emotion”) from the likes of star Kristen Stewart. Seriously, though, Darabont is a pretty masterful filmmaker when he wants to be, and he’s no stranger to monstrous horrors that appear out of nowhere to drag men to their doom. Which will almost certainly appear in the next Huntsman film. Overall, an extremely solid choice for Snow White and the Huntsman 2 Furious.

Andy Muschietti

Muschietti has but one feature film under his belt, yet it’s a good’n: 2013’s Mama. Yes, the script is convoluted and seems to support turning innocent little girls into clouds of ghost moths, but let’s ignore that for now. Like Darabont, Muschietti has extensive experience with the things that pop out of closets to make children cry, but he’s not nearly so well-traveled. That might be a good thing from Universal’s perspective, especially if they want to keep churning out SWatH movies every few years. Muschietti locks right into the current trend of up-and-coming directors who score one big hit and are immediately swallowed up by a series of billion-dollar franchises (see also: Gareth Edwards, Colin Trevorrow, Josh Trank). Just last month, Muschietti left Universal’s The Mummy reboot, so if they could get him back for Huntsman, it’s like all that nasty business never happened.

Gavin O’Connor

Not quite as seasoned as Darabont but with significantly more seasoning than Muschietti, O’Connor is the happy medium here. He’s got both Warrior and Miracle under his belt, and he also holds the honor of being the guy to ride in and save Jane’s Got A Gun after basically everyone quit that movie last year. Where O’Connor differs from the first two is that he has less experience with supernatural beasties, which might hurt him in a film that’s basically guaranteed to contain some kind of CGI beastwork. Also, it’s pretty likely that a film about Snow White will lean to the feminine side of things (like, say, Mama did), and O’Connor’s best work is all about dudes who love sports and occasionally cry but only in the context of sports. So, not particularly feminine. Still, it’s not like O’Connor’s a bad director. He’s actually the opposite: a “good” director, if you will.

But that’s the case for all three of the filmmakers currently in the running to desperately come up with some way of continuing the Snow White story past its natural endpoint.

Adam Bellotto is a freelancer writer from Virginia who moved to California because movies are super neat. His work can also be read at Perihelion Science Fiction and Starpulse, among other places.

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