Universal has been on the prowl for Viggo Mortensen's replacement in Snow White and the Huntsmansince the actor officially dropped out a couple weeks back. Now the studio has reportedly offered the Huntsman role to another A-list actor known for portraying rugged figures onscreen: Hugh Jackman.
With the one-two blow of Darren Aronofsky's departure and the situation in Japan having essentially put The Wolverine on indefinite hold right now, Universal is hoping that Jackman will decide to sign on for its refashioned fairy tale project in the meantime.
Deadline has the scoop on this casting possibility for Snow White and the Huntsman, which screenwriter Hossein Amini (the upcoming 47 Ronin movie) is in talks to do script polish work on before it begins production this fall. Kristen Stewart remains attached to star as the iconic pale, dark-haired princess in the film - one of two upcoming Snow White movies that restructures the classic story as more of an action-adventure tale.
Tarsem Singh's rival Snow White project will feature up-and-comers like Lily Collins and Armie Hammer as its leads - with Julia Roberts portraying the villainous stepmother/evil queen. Charlize Theron will tackle that same role in Snow White and the Huntsman, which won't arrive until some six months after Singh's film hits theaters.
Neither Collins nor Stewart - as demonstrated by the returns for her non-Twilight films - are big box office draws on their own, but Roberts does make Singh's Snow White look more lucrative than Theron does with Huntsman. So it makes sense that Universal is setting its sights high and wants to bring someone with certifiable star power (like Jackman) onboard - to give its fairy tale movie the edge, so to speak.
Jackman remains as determined as ever to make sure The Wolverine turns out well, but 20th Century Fox already has plenty of tentpole pics set to arrive in 2012. Plus, with other highly-anticipated comic book titles like The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man, and The Dark Knight Rises all arriving next summer, it could be to The Wolverine's advantage to hit theaters at a later time.
I can certainly see Jackman playing a gruff and experienced warrior who mentors Stewart's Snow White in the ways of the world - and he's more than a worthy replacement for Mortensen. Jackman seems to have little problem staying in shape, so the physical nature of the Huntsman part should only further assist the actor in remaining fit for when production on The Wolverine does get underway. We'll find out soon enough if Jackman is actually interested in the role, though.
Snow White and the Huntsman is scheduled for theatrical release on December 21st, 2012.