Mike Fleming

UPDATE: Relativity confirmed they’ve signed Julia Roberts, and have set a June 29, 2012 release date. That puts The Brothers Grimm: Snow White six months ahead of the preliminary release plan for Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman. Relativity Media’s press release is at bottom of the story.

EARLIER 9:33 AM: Deadline revealed late last year that Julia Roberts was being courted by Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media to play the Evil Queen in the Tarsem Singh-directed The Brothers Grimm: Snow White. I’m told that the deal will close within two hours, with the talks basically down to “whether Julia gets a Town Car or an SUV.”

Committing to Roberts means that neither Relativity Media or Universal Pictures is blinking on the race to mount rival Snow White pictures for 2012 release. Universal has set a December 21, 2012 release date for the Rupert Sanders-directed Snow White and the Huntsman, which has come together strongly with Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen playing the title characters, and Charlize Theron playing the Evil Queen. Usually, rival picture races end when one project either lands a big star or makes it into production first. That’s happened on such films as the Oliver Stone-directed Alexander, which ended the Alexander the Great film Baz Luhrmann was prepping with Leonardo DiCaprio.

Relativity Media might get into production before Universal’s planned summer start, with pre-production underway and shooting to begin possibly as soon as next month, insiders said. Landing Roberts is also a big play for Kavanaugh, who stepped into The Fighter when many of the elements were in place. Here, he got a project from scratch and is taking his biggest shot with an internationally bankable superstar. It comes at a time when The Fighter has a puncher’s chance for Best Picture, and as Kavanaugh mounts tent pole-size movies like  the Henry Cavill-starrer Immortals and the Biblical tale Goliath. All this seems to be leading Relativity Media to an inevitable IPO.

(Beverly Hills, CA) February 8, 2011 – Relativity Media has closed a deal with Oscar®-winner Julia Roberts to play the Queen in its upcoming untitled Snow White feature, based on the Brothers Grimm story, directed by Tarsem Singh (Immortals, The Cell).

Pre-production has begun, and principal photography will start in April. The theatrical release date is set for June 29, 2012.

Relativity’s Snow White, a retelling of one of the most beloved fables of all-time, will eschew the traditional story in favor of a more modern tale full of comedy and adventure. After her evil stepmother kills her father and destroys the kingdom, Snow White bands together with a gang of seven quarrelsome dwarfs to reclaim what is rightly hers. The script was written by Melissa Wallack (Meet Bill) and Jason Keller (Machine Gun Preacher).

The film’s producers are Ryan Kavanaugh (The Fighter), Bernie Goldmann (300) and Brett Ratner (Rush Hour franchise). The executive producers are Tucker Tooley (The Fighter), Jeff Waxman (Immortals), Tommy Turtle (Immortals), Jamie Marshall (Immortals), Josh Pate (Friday Night Lights) and John Cheng (Horrible Bosses).

Relativity’s CEO Ryan Kavanaugh commented, “Julia was our first and only choice to play the Queen. She is an icon, and we know that she will make this role her own in a way that no one else could.”

Relativity currently has Golden Globe®-winner and seven-time Oscar®-nominee The Fighter in theatres, via Paramount Pictures, starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo and Amy Adams as well as Golden Globe®-winner and eight-time Oscar®-nominee The Social Network via its partnership with Sony Pictures. Relativity’s 2011 slate also includes current release Season of the Witch starring Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman. The hilarious Take Me Home Tonight debuts on March 4th starring Topher Grace and Anna Faris. Following on March 18th, is the much-anticipated Limitless, starring Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish and Oscar®-winner Robert De Niro. Relativity recently announced its acquisition of the Untitled David R. Ellis 3D Shark Thriller which will release in theatres on September 2nd. Finally on November 11th, 2011 is Immortals starring Henry Cavill, Stephen Dorff, Isabel Lucas, Freida Pinto, Luke Evans, Kellan Lutz, with John Hurt and Mickey Rourke.