Let the hunt be­gin. Again.

Jessica Chas­tain and emily blunt lend se­ri­ous star power to The hunts­man: Win­ter’s War

Empire (UK) - - PREMIERE - He­len O’hara

If em­pire had a pound for ev­ery time we were told a se­quel was “go­ing darker”, we’d have enough cash to pro­duce our own block­buster. and its darker se­quel.

In­trigu­ingly, though, The Hunts­man: Win­ter’s War, the fol­low-up to 2012’s Snow White & The Hunts­man, is go­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion. “The first film was very heavy,” says Chris hemsworth, who once again plays Eric, the epony­mous hunts­man. “This time, we’re let­ting the com­edy steer things as op­posed to get­ting buried in the weighty stuff.”

That’s not all. hemsworth, and Char­l­ize Theron as evil queen Ravenna, may re­main, but Kris­ten Ste­wart — who played Snow White — has moved on, to be re­placed by heavy-duty re­in­force­ments: Jessica Chas­tain (pic­tured) as the hunts­man’s true love, war­rior woman Sara, and Emily Blunt as Ravenna’s sin­is­ter sis­ter, freya. add Chas­tain and Blunt to any film and you have our cu­rios­ity. Give them swords, bows and ar­rows, and make them fight, and you have our at­ten­tion. “I’ve been train­ing a lot, so that Sara is ab­so­lutely Eric’s equal,” says Chas­tain. “I love the ac­tion stuff.”

That’s ev­i­dent on the day we visit the Pinewood sets, where we wit­ness an almighty dust-up be­tween Chas­tain and Blunt on a sound­stage con­verted into the sump­tu­ous court­yard of an ice palace. for freya, it turns out, can con­trol snow and frost. It’s all very Frozen, although she doesn’t want to build a snow­man. “I’m mostly skulk­ing around my cas­tle, be­ing evil,” laughs Blunt. “It’s sur­pris­ing how eas­ily be­ing bad comes to me. Even a bit wor­ry­ing…”

The hunts­man: Win­ter’s War is out on April 8.

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