For several years now, Disney has been working on a variation of the Snow White story that places the character somewhere in Chinese history and has her being protected by seven Shaolin monks. The studio appears to be finally moving ahead with the film with Variety reporting that Disney is currently in talks with Hannah‘s Saoirse Ronan for the lead role.
Although it had gone through much of its development with the title Snow And The Seven, Disney’s film was retitled The Order Of The Seven back in August when commercial director Michael Gracey signed on. The film started life in 2002 with Michael Chabon authoring the first screenplay. At one point action director Yuen Wo-ping was attached before Francis Lawrence (Constantine, I Am Legend) worked on it with Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt. Natalie Portman was reportedly interested in joining the project at that point. Early drafts of the screenplay paralleled the original Snow White story more closely, but as it was developed, such elements as an evil stepmother and a magic mirror fell by the wayside.
The Hollywood Reporter described the film’s story last year as –
In this iteration, the seven are a 19th century-set disparate band of international warriors belonging to a centuries-old order who have lost their way. Their meeting with an Englishwoman being chased by an ancient evil is the catalyst for their redemption. While the project is set in China, the warriors will be from locales near (the U.S.) and far (Russia), and each warrior will have a unique fighting style.
This doesn’t seem to be too far off from Variety‘s take on the plot –
Ronan would play Olivia Sinclair, a British expat in 19th century Hong Kong, who seeks the protection of a centuries old group of warriors, now a jaded group of outlaws. After the reemergence of an ancient evil empress, Sinclair helps the warriors reclaim their destiny and noble roots.