PASADENA, Calif. - A fairy tale is coming true for The Practice's Camryn Manheim, when she breaks the mould in the role of Snow White in the upcoming 10-hour NBC mini-series The 10th Kingdom.
"Well, I've been playing her in my bedroom for many years now, so I was ready for her. But it was wonderful, I grew up reading about Snow White and fantasizing about being the fairest of them all, and there I was," Manheim told critics at a press conference for the mini airing in late February.
"My manager told me that NBC had offered me the role of Snow White and I said, 'I'll take it.' I didn't read it ... and I agreed to do it even before reading the script because I was so thrilled that they were moving away from the conventional Snow White."
The slapstick special effects fantasy also stars John Larroquette, who dyed his white hair back to brunette to play a New York City janitor whose daughter leads him through a vortex in Central Park to a troll-infested dimension.
Accompanied by a prince who's been turned into a dog, they meet the aging Cinderella (Ann-Margret) and a host of other characters including an older, wiser but still fair Snow White.
Manheim, author of last year's comic autobiography Wake Up, I'm Fat! made a splash at the 1998 Emmy Awards when she raised her best actress trophy and crowed, "This is for all the fat girls."
She says she wanted to make another statement in the role of the fairy-tale beauty.
Hence, her costume is made to make her character instantly recognizable. Although Disney owns the image, Manheim sports a black corset, ebony wig and makeup as white as snow.
"I am playing Snow White, and we've come very far from that image when I grew up and we're getting all kinds of images of beauty," she says. "So it was really thrilling to get in that tight corset and be able to accentuate my assets, no pun intended and, yes, it was a throwback to my finer days."
The mini from Robert Halmi Sr. (Gulliver's Travels, Merlin) follows last season's top-rated Noah's Ark and Alice in Wonderland. But poor ratings for Leprechauns suggest he may have visited the fantasy well once too often.
NBC Entertainment president Garth Ancier, hired after the net bought The 10th Kingdom last year, wisely moved it to a post-February sweeps slot. Ancier has said he's looking to do more serious movie fare in the future.