Ravenna's powers are based on the legend of Erszebet (or Elizabeth) Bathory, a 17th-century Hungarian potentate who allegedly consumed and bathed in the blood of murdered young girls in an attempt to rejuvenate herself.
Is one of very few film version of the Snow White tale where most of the dwarfs aren't played by actual dwarfs, but rather uses technical tricks to make the actors appear smaller in size. This caused some heavy criticism from little people in the trade, like actor Warwick Davis, who publicly compared this to if someone attempted to "black up" a white actor for a role as a black character.
Charlize Theron said that the hardest thing for her was walking in the dress she wore when she married King Magnus. The corset was incredibly uncomfortable and she was almost hunched over by the time she made it to the altar.
Director Rupert Sanders' insistence on realism in scale meant minimal miniature model work. The huge castle in the enchanted forest, for example, took 6 months to construct. The gigantic trebuchet, consisting of a metal skeleton interior and wooden exterior, weighed 6.5 tons.
Rather than using a wig, actor Sam Spruell's real strawberry blonde hair was cut & styled into Finn's distinctively unpleasant pageboy haircut for the duration of filming. It was bleached, cut, and his hairline was shaved back under the fringe. He describes it as "fine for the film, but horrible for civilian life."
Production of the film was temporarily shut down in October 2011 after Kristen Stewart tore a ligament in her thumb during an attack scene with the dwarves. Stewart also suffered from a foot injury sustained on set.
Kristen Stewart had an affair with her director Rupert Sanders during the making of the film. When the scandal broke, Stewart's boyfriend Robert Pattinson moved out of their Hollywood home, while Sanders' wife (Liberty Ross, who appears at the start of the film as Snow White's mother) eventually instigated divorce proceedings.
Ravenna is also the name of an Italian city south of Venice, rich of precious architectural Byzantine art. The city was home to Italy's national poet Dante Alighieri, and was the capital of Italy in the 4th, 5th, and 6th centuries. To an Italian audience this name may not sound as dark as it was meant to.
First time director Rupert Sanders was the only helmer considered by the production team. The day after being contacted by the studio, Sanders had assembled some mood boards which he presented to them to give them an idea of how he wanted the film to look. He was then given a week to put together some shots. When Universal saw what he had achieved with this, they greenlit the film immediately.
Universal Pictures decided to drop Kristen Stewart from the sequel "Snow White and The Huntsman 2", due to the scandal of Stewart's affair with director Rupert Sanders and instead of a sequel, Universal Pictures decided to focus on and develop a spin-off following The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth).
Durham Cathedral in the north of England was one of the key influences for Ravenna's throne room. Production designer Dominic Watkins traveled the length and breadth of England, visiting all the main cathedrals in the country for inspiration.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Snow White rallies the troops before the final battle. This scene "borrows" iconic images of both sides of England and France's wars in the early 15th century. Her words paraphrase what English King Henry V allegedly said to rally his troops for battle at Agincourt in 1415, as speculated by William Shakespeare. Her appearance is based on the French commander Sainte Jeanne Darc (Saint Joan of Arc), who turned the tide during the period of 1429-1431.
WILHELM SCREAM: When William shoots down one of the castle soldiers off of a bridge during the final castle battle, the soldier screams a Wilhelm scream as he falls. Oddly enough, William is a translation of Wilhelm.
Originally the script followed the Disney version and had the wicked witch give Snow White the poisoned apple. However, Rupert Sanders felt that that was too standard so the idea of Ravenna disguising herself as Prince William was hatched.