If Empire had a pound for every time we were told a sequel was “going darker”, we’d have enough cash to produce our own blockbuster. And its darker sequel.
Intriguingly, though, The Huntsman: Winter’s War is going in the opposite direction. “The first film was heavy,” says Chris Hemsworth, who once again plays Eric, the eponymous huntsman. “This time, we’re letting the comedy steer things as opposed to getting buried in the weighty stuff.”
That’s not all. Hemsworth, and Charlize Theron as evil queen Ravenna, may remain, but Kristen Stewart – who played Snow White – has moved on, to be replaced by heavy-duty reinforcements: Jessica Chastain as Huntsman’s true love, warrior woman Sara, and Emily Blunt as Ravenna’s sinister sister, Freya. Add Chastain and Blunt to any film and you have our curiosity. Give them swords, bows and arrows, and make them fight, and you have our attention. “I’ve been training a lot, so that Sara is absolutely Eric’s equal,” says Chastain. “I love the action stuff.”
That’s evident on the day we visited the Pinewood sets, where we witness an almighty duty-up between Chastain and Blunt on a soundstage converted into the sumptuous courtyard of an ice palace. For Freya, it turns out, can control snow and frost. It’s all very Frozen, although she doesn’t want to build a snowman. “I’m mostly skulking around my castel, being evil,” laughs Blunt. “I’m surprising how easily being bad comes to me. Even a bit worrying…”
The Huntsman: Winter’s War is out on April 8 on UK and April 22 in U.S.