It’s summer blockbuster season, and if you managed to catch Snow White and the Huntsman (or just the trailer before one of the other big movies), you may have noticed that the filmmakers took particular care with the updated, darker version of the mirror man who tells the evil queen that she’s the fairest in the land. I mean, look at that guy! He’s intense!
That’s because the character is based on a sculpture by Kevin Francis Gray, who was recruited by director Rupert Sanders to flesh out the sculpture into a proper character early in the process of making the film.
The sculpture that inspired the character actually comes in a set of two, Mr. Gray said on a phone call with The Observer. It’s titled Face-Off (2007).
“I made this sculpture to be put at the entrance so that as you walked into a gallery, you walked through these guardians of the gate,” Mr. Gray explained. “They’re standing with their arms crossed and they’ve got that kind of attitude-y young pose, you know what I mean? That arrogant cocky pose. You see it all the time.
“You walk through the door to the gallery,” he said, “and you get this bad vibe even as you just walk into the show.”
Mr. Gray called the three months he worked on the film “really pleasant.” He devoted most of the time to working with visual-effects artists to create a backstory for the character. Any misgivings he had about going Hollywood soon dissipated since, in his research, he discovered Disney had a rich history of working with artists on the original Snow White film and, beyond that, he didn’t find movie work to be his cup of tea.
“It really showed me that I could get out of my comfort zone,” he said, but he actually found working on the movie easier than his usual studio practice, which, he reminded us, requires him to use three dimensions. “It’s very much ab0out the two-dimensional image on the screen.”
And what did he think of the film?
“That’s a horrible fucking question to ask!” he said, chuckling. Trailer here:
If you’re taken with this sample of his work, be sure to swing by Mr. Gray’s show at Haunch of Venison New York this fall, which runs from September 4 through September 29.