When MTV News caught up with the film's director, Rupert Sanders, recently, he explained how everyone involved in the project stepped up their game for this modern take on a medieval story.
"Kristen is a very driven, visceral, intuitive actress. From a director's point of view, it's great to get into her headspace," he explained. "We did a lot of work together on the script and character, and she really helped inform me how that character was feeling, which really helped my process getting the character onscreen. Kristen was doing a lot of her stunt work, she was riding horses, she was jumping from high precipices into freezing cold water, she was fighting dwarves — she's gung-ho.
Sanders said Stewart's co-star Charlize Theron was equally gung-ho with respect to the lengths she went to take her beauty into a dark and horrible place.
"[She] becomes fiendish," Sanders said. "She was willing to get in tubs of black oil, surrounded by dead ravens, and crawl her way out. For a director, what's great about these two actors is that they will go beyond what you ask of them, and I think it really shows in the performances they've given. They're both very unlike any performance I've seen either of them deliver."
The first-time feature director promised that fans will not be disappointed by what they'll see onscreen when the film opens June 1.
"What I'm most proud of is that it's not a popcorn movie in that respect. It's big and it's epic and there's lots of battle sequences, but it really hits you," he said. "There's not a lot of weeping, but it's a very intense ride. You're really at the edge of people's boundaries. There are new ways of seeing action, which I'm excited about. It's a very modern take on a medieval film but doesn't feel like we're trying to do anything trendy or of the minute. It still feels practical."
It's Summer Movie Preview Week, and MTV News will be bringing you exclusive interviews, clips and photos for the most anticipated summer movies. Get ready to gorge on inside looks at "The Avengers," Robert Pattinson's "Bel Ami," Kristen Stewart's "Snow White," "The Amazing Spider-Man" and more!