Ravenna's powers are based on the legend of Erszebet (or Elizabeth) Bathory, a seventeenth century Hungarian potentate, who allegedly consumed and bathed in the blood of murdered young girls, in an attempt to rejuvenate herself.
The drops of blood at the beginning of the film are drops of real blood from director Rupert Sanders. Sanders felt the fake blood looked too unrealistic, so he pricked his finger to get the shot he wanted.
Rupert Sanders' insistence on realism in scale, meant minimal miniature model work. The huge castle in the enchanted forest, for example, took six 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 and styled into Finn's distinctive pageboy haircut for the duration of filming. It was bleached, cut, and his hairline was shaved back under the fringe (bangs). He describes it as "fine for the film, but horrible for civilian life."
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.
This is one of the very few film versions 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 someone attempting to "black up" a white actor for a role as a black character.
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.
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.
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 Rupert Sanders, and instead of a sequel, Universal Pictures decided to focus on, and develop, a spin-off following The Huntsman.
Kristen Stewart had an affair with Rupert Sanders during the making of the film. When the scandal broke, Stewart's boyfriend, Robert Pattinson, moved out of their Hollywood house, while Sanders' wife, Liberty Ross, who appeared at the start of the film as Snow White's mother, eventually instigated divorce proceedings.
First time 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 green-lit the film immediately.
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 fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries. To an Italian audience, this name may not sound as dark as it was meant to.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Originally, the script followed the Disney version, and had the Wicked Witch give Snow White the poisoned apple. However, Rupert Sanders felt that was too standard, so the idea of Ravenna disguising herself as Prince William was hatched.
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 fifteenth 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 D'arc (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.