Departure opens door to 'Superman'

Viggo Mortensen has ended negotiations for the role of the huntsman in Universal’s “Snow White and the Huntsman” and has moved on from the project.

Pic, produced by Joe Roth and directed by Rupert Sanders, already stars Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron. It was scheduled to start shooting sometime this fall and was set to be released on Dec. 21, 2012.

Evan Daugherty is penning the script, an original retelling of the fairy tale. In this new version, the huntsman (who, in the original fairy tale, is supposed to kill Snow White but ends up letting her go) becomes her protector and a mentor of sorts as they try to escape from the evil queen who ordered her death.

Project is one of at least three “Snow White” feature films in active development around town. The others include Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven” and Relativity’s “The Brothers Grimm: Snow White.”

Mortensen’s exit from “Huntsman” opens the door for him to take the role of the villain in Warner Bros.’ “Superman: Man of Steel,” which would have shot at about the same time.

Speculation on the villain role in “Superman” has ranged from Edgar Ramirez to Michael Shannon, but sources tell Variety Mortensen has been a leading contender.

Warner Bros. would not comment, but “Superman” director Zack Snyder is said to be interested in Mortensen.

Mortensen can be seen next in David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method” with Michael Fassbender and in “On the Road,” directed by Walter Salles.

He’s repped by WME, Rawlings Co. and Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette & Feldman.

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