Director Of New Huntsman Film Defends Casting After Dwarf Controversy

The director of Hollywood blockbuster The Huntsman: Winter's War has defended casting fully-sized actors to play dwarves in the film.

British stars Sheridan Smith, Nick Frost and Rob Brydon are among the actors who play dwarf roles in the new movie, which is a follow-up to 2012's Snow White And The Huntsman.

The first film reportedly sparked plans for a protest march on Universal, while Danny Woodburn - an actor with dwarfism who appeared on Seinfield - told the New York Post that the issue was "akin to blackface".

Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, who directed The Huntsman: Winter's War, said the dwarf characters in the film were a "fantasy race" and he wanted to use actors who had appeared in the first film.

Speaking at the film's US premiere in Los Angeles, the Frenchman told the Press Association: "We were staying with the first movie. In the first movie it was about the actors who had been chosen to play the parts.

"We brought Nick back because he was part of the first movie. I was not like 'oh we're going to change that'. I just kept the same concept.

"In this movie the dwarves are fantasy race, it's a very different thing."

Chris Hemsworth, who stars as The Huntsman alongside Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain, said he wanted to make a film involving strong female characters that his daughter would enjoy.

He said: "Fairytales in the past were predominately the damsel in distress and the female being rescued by the male or the prince. This time it's the other way round which I think is great.

"I think about my daughter and I would love her to see a film like this, where women are empowered and in charge of their own destiny."

One of the film's writers denied that Kristen Stewart - who starred as Snow White in the first film - had not featured in the new movie because of the controversy over her affair with then-director Rupert Sanders.

Evan Spiliotopoulos said there was "really no room" for Snow White in the new film.

He told the Press Association: "This is very much a Huntsman specific role. There have been some questions about the lack of Snow White in this one ... but this is about Chris Hemsworth's character and Jessica Chastain's character.

"They have a past where really didn't have Snow White so there was really no room for her."