First Look at Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
12.02.11 by Ryan
Still without a trailer but scheduled for a March release date, EW has offered the first look photo of Gemma Arterton (Clash of the Titans) and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) as the title characters in Paramount Pictures' Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. As the title implies, the movie isn't your average adaptation of the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale, with Arterton describing the movie as "very, very dark, and bloodthirsty" with "a lot of cursing" and a "[Quentin] Tarantino feel". We have to admit, it sounds intriguing.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters follows the title characters 15 years after the events in the story, having gone back and murdered the witch in the gingerbread house that was hungry to eat the two kids. Arterton says the German folktale is just the prologue to what happens in the movie.
You see a series of flashbacks with their experience of killing that first witch, which is brilliant. I remember being on set for the final few days of that. The candy house, and the witches are really repulsive and quite frightening. The make-up is out of this world. It’s this bone-chilling scene. Very dark. The girl who plays my character is brilliant, with the horrified expression she has.
Once the story catches up with the elder Hansel and Gretel, Arterton says the movie has a "tongue in cheek" quality, though, she admits, the story is about more than just a brother and sister "kicking butt."
The heart of it is that these kids grow up to be bloodthirsty witch hunters. It’s a bit tongue in cheek, really. What would Hansel and Gretel be in 15 years time? They had to murder somebody when they are kids! So it’s all about being tough.
Jeremy and I found within the script moments where we showed the vulnerable side of them. Often in action movies, people are scared to put that in. I think it was important. Just a couple moments, tender moments, when the guard drops, then you understand.
We spent a lot of time thinking about that and behaving like brother and sister, making it detailed so it wasn’t just two actors kicking butt, really. That would get boring. In our minds, these are two people who grew up with no parents and they only have each other and the bond they have, and with the complexities of that, some resentment.
As for how the two siblings are different, Arterton says that Gretel is "much more in tune with her spiritual side" while Hansel is "a typical action hero — cheeky, funny, a womanizer." That doesn't mean that Gretel can't handle herself in a fight. "Gretel is very tough and can handle herself," said Arteron. "She’s still a girl. She’s got feminine ways."
Directed by Tommy Wirkola — who last dealt with Nazi zombies in the Norwegian horror movie Dead Snow — and written by Dante Harper, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters was produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, which should give a slight indication that the movie will have at least a slight comedic tone.
In February, McKay called the movie "one of my favorite projects" and indicated that it could be the start of a franchise. "If I step back, it feels to me like, 'God, I could watch a bunch of these, just having read the script and knowing what Wirkola's style is,'" McKay admitted at the time.