Combustible Celluloid
 

A Few Words with Caroline Thompson

Making 'Snow White'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy Snow White on DVD

Caroline Thompson remembers curling up in front of "The Wonderful World of Disney" on Sunday nights as a child, and so she felt both nostalgia and trepidation when her Snow White project melted away from NBC and ended up featured on that ABC show. She would be, in a sense, competing with Walt Disney's classic 1937 animated film, but starting fresh with darker, more personal elements.

"I love fairy tales. To me fairy tales have a kind of mythic dimensionality that is -- they tell us about ourselves without being overly moralistic. They're little glimpses into human nature. It's telling you about yourself without you knowing."

At age 44, Thompson immediately understood the drive of the tale -- fear. "It's about these two women, one not wanting to grow up and the other not wanting to grow old."

"The disappointing thing about getting old is that you feel stupid. I think little kids are born knowing everything, and aging is a process of forgetting. I as a kid just adored the macabre elements."

She still does, as evidenced by her screenplays for Edward Scissorhands, The Addams Family and The Nightmare Before Christmas. She made her directorial debut in 1994 with Black Beauty, and Snow White marks her third time in the director's chair.

Using her unique perspective, Thompson presents Snow White simultaneously from Snow White and the Wicked Queen's points of view, inspired by words of wisdom from one of the cast members of Edward Scissorhands.

"Vincent Price once told me that everybody from their own perspective is doing the right thing."

June 12, 2002

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