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Classic Fairy Tale Gets Hollywood Makeover in 'Mirror, Mirror'

  • Alan Silverman

Martin Klebba, Jordan Prentice, Danny Woodburn, Ronald Lee Clark and Lily Collins in "Mirror, Mirror"

Martin Klebba, Jordan Prentice, Danny Woodburn, Ronald Lee Clark and Lily Collins in "Mirror, Mirror"

Julia Roberts and Lily Collins head the cast in a new family film of a beloved fairy tale. Mirror, Mirror, a fresh take on Snow White, takes its title from the question the evil queen poses daily to her magic mirror.

QUEEN "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?"
MIRROR "Snow White."
PRINCE "Snow White?"
QUEEN "Ugh."

Once upon a time, a very vain queen discovers that her fabled beauty is eclipsed by her stepdaughter, the princess kept locked away in the castle. Unfortunately for the evil queen, a charming prince glimpses the young Snow White.

PRINCE "Do you know her? She has ivory skin and black hair …"
QUEEN "Her hair is not black, it's raven and she is 18 years old and her skin has never seen the sun, so of course it's good."

Julia Roberts and Lily Collins in "Mirror Mirror" Photo - Jan Thijs– ©2011 Snow White Productions, LLC.

The queen sends Snow White to die in the forest. But the plucky and lucky teenager survives, meets seven dwarves and, with their cottage as her headquarters, mounts a strategic offensive against the queen.

The fairy tale origins may be the same, but this is definitely a departure from the animated Disney version that has enchanted audiences for the past 75 years. Lily Collins, 23, daughter of British musician Phil Collins, stars as Snow White.

Lily Collins in "Mirror Mirror" Photo - ©2011 - Relativity Media

"I wanted to pay homage to the classic essence of that fairy tale princess and be very particular in everything from [the way I held] my hands to the way that I spoke to people," Collins explains. "But at the same time I'm wielding a sword and throwing things back at the prince, running and jumping and fighting for myself. So I never wanted to make a Snow White that was a caricature of the animated story. I wanted to make a real girl that audiences today could look at and say 'I want her to be a friend of mine.'"

PRINCE "I can't fight you."
SNOW WHITE "Why not?"
PRINCE "Because you're a girl. I don't fight girls. Perhaps I should reconsider."

Armie Hammer says he had fun playing the hapless prince.

Armie Hammer and Lily Collins in "Mirror Mirror" Photo - Jan Thijs– ©2012 Relativity Media, LLC.

"He just bounces around and has a good time. It's goofy, so you just have to go for it and have fun with it," Hammer says.

But perhaps Oscar-winner Julia Roberts has the most fun. She seems right at home as the conniving queen.

Julia Roberts and director Tarsem Singh on the set of "Mirror Mirror" Photo - Jan Thijs– ©2012 Relativity Media, LLC.

"It was fun to play this villain," Roberts says, "because there aren't any real rules of syntax or reality that apply to her. I could kind of do anything and just go off the rails in any direction at any time and it would make sense to me. You don't have to worry too much about 'would a person really do this?'"

India-born director Tarsem Singh designed Mirror, Mirror as a lark for families to enjoy. But for those who like their fairy tales dark, an edgy, more violent take on the story - Snow White and the Huntsman - comes to theaters later in 2012.