Mike Fleming

huntsmEXCLUSIVE: While all eyes have been on who’ll ultimately direct Ant-Man, Universal is getting down to finding a helmer for Snow White And The Huntsman 2. I’m hearing the shortlist consists of Frank Darabont, Gavin O’Connor and Andy Muschietti. Rupert Sanders helmed the first film, which grossed close to $400 million worldwide, a result that almost guarantees a second installment even if the first cost $170 million or so. This is an intriguing group of filmmakers. Darabont, after helming The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, hatched The Walking Dead and helped forge it into cable TV’s top-rated drama before getting fired. He hasn’t helmed a feature since 2007′s The Mist. Then there is O’Connor, who directed the cult favorite film Warrior as well as Miracle and stepped in and saved the Natalie Portman starrer Jane Got A Gun. Then there is Muschietti, the Mama helmer who was tapped by Universal to reboot its The Mummy franchise, before he fell out of that project. Universal and Roth Films are trying to have the Huntsman movie for 2016 — Chris Hemsworth had to say no to the Legendary sci-fi film Brilliance because he’s slotted to reteam with Kristen Stewart and do this sequel after The Avengers 2 — so a decision should be made soon. Stay tuned.

As for Ant-Man, Marvel has gone radio silent after heated press reports that Adam McKay would direct and then equally heated reports a day later that he wasn’t going to do it after all. Right now, the favorite is Dodgeball and We’re The Millers helmer Rawson Thurber, but names like Nicholas Stoller and Michael Dowse also are making the rounds.