STAR Exclusive: Behind the scenes of ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’

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Despite luke warm reviews, the crew of “The Hunstman: Winter’s War” are proud of the finished product.  

The Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs tale has been around since 1938. As a sequel, “The Huntsman: Winters War,” takes a dark twist on the initial fable following up the recent film released in 2012.

What happens behind the scenes of a movie isn’t always known, but the amount of work that goes into one film is much more than someone may think. 

“Most people don’t realize that making a movie starts years before the movie even films,” said Alyssa Altman, assistant to Producer Jeff Kirschenbaum. “There is a pitch that turns into an outline, which turns into a script, and that script is rewritten many times before it goes to screen.” 

“My position was assistant to Jeff Kirschenbaum at Universal Pictures,” said Altman. “He was the co-president of production, but then I moved with him to his new company called Roth-Kirschenbaum Films.”

Christina Tellez was an assistant to Maradith Frenkel, a Vice President of Production at Universal Pictures.

“People would be surprised to know how many departments and crew members it takes to make one film,” said Tellez. “A film could involve hundreds of people’s input. Whether it be on set, in post-production or VFX.”

There are many different roles people play behind the scenes in movies. For this film in particular, a lot of work went into making sure it wouldn’t let down the original fans of the fable. What is vital to making a film successful is the relationship among the cast and crew on set. 

“What is really cool is seeing the relationships evolve,” said Altman. “On ‘The Huntsman,’ everybody became really great friends.”

With all the fun and entertaining aspects of working on a movie set, there are also difficulties that come along with that. 

“‘The Huntsman’ shot in London, so my boss had to fly back and forth from London to L.A. every other week for three months,” said Tellez.

It takes a certain type of person to work the long hours and daily pressure, but it’s that person’s drive that will make a movie so successful. 

“The one thing everyone has in common is being super passionate about movies and TV,” added Altman. “Sometimes it takes many different paths in the industry to see what you respond too, but once you find it and love it, you will never leave.” 

For this movie in particular, the film’s director Cedric Nicolas Troyan was a first-time feature director. 

“He was able to handle the creative criticism really well and the actors loved him,” said Tellez. “It was really interesting to see how the studio executives and producers problem-solve creative notes.” 

While filming a movie, problems may arise that could not have been foreseen. That’s when quick thinking and problem-solving becomes vital from all of the crew to make sure it doesn’t harshly affect the film or push back the release date. 

“We had countless very smart, creative individuals who put years of their life into making this movie,” said James Burg, Assistant to the Director of Development at Universal Pictures. “From start to finish, a movie like ‘The Huntsman’ can take three to four years from when we first talk about it to when you finally see it in theatres.”

Many things happen behind the scenes of a movie that viewers are unaware of. 

“There are infinite decisions of writers, directors and cast. To locations, budget, and wardrobe, to marketing plans, merchandise, and release schedules,” added Burg. “Every single one of these complicated problems are meticulously thought out to provide the best movie going experience that we can provide.”

On websites like Rotten Tomatoes, “The Huntsman: Winters War” didn’t receive the rating that the cast and crew were hopeful for. 

“The reviews we got in for ‘The Huntsman’ were less than perfect, and a lot of people trashed it in the press,” said Burg. “It’s unfortunate that some critics saw it in that way, but the cast and crew are still proud of their product.”

“Being at the premiere was so surreal, I had been to others, but this one was special,” said Altman. “Knowing all my hard work had paid off, I was there from my pre-pro to post and seeing it on the big screen, there is not quite any other feeling like that in this world.”

Although the movie may not have gotten the reviews the cast and crew had hoped for, it’s clear that so much work went into creating this film and that the cast and crew should be applauded for their time and dedication.

Alyssa Altman, the assistant to Producer Jeff Kirschenbaum is Staff Writer Audrey Altman’s sister.