Snow White and the Huntsman, Universal’s retelling of the classic fairy tale starring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth, debuted on blu-ray yesterday with the usual compliment of extras, knick knacks and DVD gewgaws. Among them is a commentary track by director Rupert Sanders, co-editor Neil Smith and visual effects co-supervisor Cedric Nicolas-Troyan. The track itself isn’t necessarily as illuminating as the best tracks can be, but it’s much better than average with all three men fully engaged by the film they’ve made together. Of the three, Nicolas-Troyan (who got his start working in commercials before graduating to feature work on films like The Ring and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl) is easily the most enthusiastic and what immediately comes across is his interest and knowledge, not just in his own terrific effects work, but about every other aspect of the film as well. I spoke with Cedric by telephone from France last week in anticipation of the film’s blu-ray release and it turns out he’s got very good reasons to be focusing on more than just the film’s effects.
Craig Kennedy: You’ve described yourself as just a kid from a small fishing town in France. How did get from that place to being visual effects supervisor on a major Hollywood motion picture?
Cedric Nicolas-Troyan: I’m in that small fishing town now as a matter of fact in the southwest of France. It’s just one of those things where I loved movies. In 1977 I went to see Star Wars at a small cinema where I lived and it was the first time on my own without my parents and I was just blown away. I wanted to live there. I came back and told my mom I wanted to move there and she was like “What are you talking about?” After that I just really loved movies and I loved comic books. I was one of those geeks. I just loved that stuff. And frankly, where I’m from, making movies in Hollywood is not really an option. You say you want to make movies and people just laugh like you want to be an astronaut or something. So, as I grew up, I never really knew if I could make movies. I was a pretty good illustrator though, so I thought about doing comics or whatnot, and then eventually I just said “You know what? I’m going to go to Paris and try to do this.” From there I ended up in Santa Monica and Hollywood and now I’m like a kid in the candy store. I’m living the dream. Somebody said the American Dream is dead, but it’s not for me. I never would’ve believed I could make it this far.