Sam Spruell (‘Snow White and the Huntsman’) interview

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British actor Sam Spruell (London to Brighton) stars as Finn in epic adventure movie Snow White and the Huntsman, released in UK cinemas on 1st June.

Kristen Stewart (Twilight) plays the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen (Oscar® winner Charlize Theron), who is out to destroy her. But what the wicked ruler never imagined is that the young woman threatening her reign has been training in the art of war with a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) who was dispatched to kill her. Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) joins the cast as the prince long enchanted by Snow White’s beauty and power.

Spruell has also been cast in BBC One’s new thriller series Mayday, from the writers of Whitechapel, which begins filming this week.

CultBox caught up with Sam to find out more…

Can you tell us a bit about your character in Snow White and the Huntsman, Finn?

“Well, there’s a wicked queen played by Charlize Theron and I play her brother. These are a brother and sister evil double act that have been ruling for the last 150 years.

“Their mother cast a spell meaning that they would live forever so they’ve kinda been together forever for a very long time, they’re kinda like a criminal family, and the cracks are starting to show on both of them when you see them in the film. Finn is quite a messed up boy in many respects and then a very protective man when it comes to his sister.”

What was it that attracted you to the role?

“Well, the fact that it was a multi-million dollar film! I’d never worked on that kind of scale, I’d done lots of films on a much smaller budget, so to work on that scale was amazing. Also the fact that it’s a fantasy tale, it allows you to be very creative with your character.

“We’ve sort of based it in medieval times but it goes beyond that, but it’s coloured by fantasy as well. I had a kind of white platinum bob which was all my own hair and a nightmare in civilian life, but it worked really well for the character. It looked otherworldly; we based it on a kind of Nordic look. I had that hair for four and a half months, my girlfriend almost dumped me!”

So it was a long shoot for you?

“I started training beforehand because they wanted me to bulk up a bit so when I fought Chris Hemsworth it didn’t look like a complete mismatch.

“He is a very big guy! I’m not too different in height from him and I put on two stone as well, so it was a bit more equal. But still, at the end of the day you’re fighting Thor!”

Was there a lot of green screen involved or did you film on real locations?

“The brilliant thing about the director, Rupert [Sanders], is that he wanted to use green screen as little as possible. That was fantastic for me and other actors. When you’re working on a proper set there’s a reality to it, I loved it.”

What were the highlights of the shoot for you?

“I learned to ride really well and I really enjoyed acting with Charlize Theron. The whole thing was just a very good experience, working on such a huge story; it was fantastic coming to work. At the beginning of my character I working on things like Rosemary & Thyme, so to end up working on this size of production is just a thrilling experience.”

How did you find filming the fight scenes with Chris Hemsworth?

“They were interesting! Chris has done so many fights, it was just amazing watching him. He didn’t have nearly as much training as I did, he’d just pick it up so quickly. He’s physically such an athlete, he just looks so good on film doing fights.

“He’s a consummate professional so it was always very easy. We had very different fighting style and we’re very different characters so it makes it more interesting.”

Were there many bruises at the end of each day?

“There’s always bruises! There’s always, y’know, a stick going in your head instead of being blocked by your arm, that sort of thing. One day Chris had to kick me in the stomach and I was meant to be pulled back on a rope. There wasn’t any padding or anything and I just remember landing wrong and feeling so winded!

“Obviously the stunt guys are brilliant. Usually it’s the actor injuring the stunt man, I hurt a lot of stunt men! I think I gave two black eyes and I cut someone’s face, so I wasn’t the most popular amongst them!”

Would you like to do more action roles in future?

“If I’m totally honest, I loved it but I think my forte is probably just standing and talking! I think I’m more into the physical stuff with people rather than the physical. But listen, if it’s offered, I’ll take it!”

Have you heard anything about the possibility of Snow White sequels?

“I’m sure it’s crossed their minds, but I couldn’t possibly comment!”

The film has an amazing cast – Toby Jones, Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, Bob Hoskins – what was everyone like to work with?

“I was really lucky; I got to work with everyone. Obviously I had lots of scenes with Charlize, but I also have a thing for Kristen Stewart’s character, a strange twisted attraction. Also me and Chris kept on bumping up against each other. I mixed in with quite a few of the characters as Finn.

“It’s fantastic playing a bad guy. I mean, you don’t play him as evil but you work out why he might be so sadistic and play those things.”

Did you see Tarsem Singh’s recent Snow White movie, Mirror Mirror?

“I didn’t, no, but I hope it’s paved the way for ours. It looks so different, it couldn’t be more different, which I think is a good thing. But I’m glad I was on my one!”

What else have you got coming up?

“I’m about to start on a show for the BBC called Mayday and it’s got a very strange tone. It’s not like anything I’ve read in a while. It’s just a little bit off, it’s a bit spooky. It’s set in the country and it’s a bit like a weird The Killing.

“It’s got a really weird unique tone and it’s the kind of thing that could go really well or could not get enough viewers to make its mark, but you’ve got a try to produce new ideas. It’s a really good cast so far – Lesley Manville, Sophie Okonedo and Aidan Gillen. There’s a murder in a village and it’s about the village’s façade falling away.”

Photo credit: Brett Walker

Watch the Snow White and the Huntsman trailer…