Arguably, the most “unorthodox” fairy tale re-imagining due out in 2012 is not Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman; rather, that label belongs to Paramount Pictures’ Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters (no colon in the title, says the studio) starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as grown-up versions of the famous siblings.
This particular Brothers Grimm-based project cost some $60 million and was shot in 3D on location in Germany, under the direction of Tommy Wirkola, the filmmaker responsible for Kill Buljo: The Movie (a.k.a. a Norwegian parody of Kill Bill) and the winter-set Nazi zombie exploitation flick, Dead Snow.
If that doesn’t sound strange enough: the plot of Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters revolves around adult versions of the eponymous duo, who have matured into highly-efficient bounty hunters that specialize in hunting down and executing witches, sorceresses, and similar (dangerous) supernatural-powered people. Suffice it to say, any trace of the innocent children who got lost in the woods and captured by a gingerbread house witch (one who almost turned them into dinner) is long gone.
Check out Arteron and Renner as Gretel and Hansel (respectively) in this newly-released image (via EW) below:
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Arterton seems to be channeling Kate Beckinsale in the Underworld series here, dressed in a dark (not skin-tight, but form-fitting) period-style leather outfit. Likewise, Renner sounds and looks to be playing a variation on his Hawkeye persona in The Avengers – albeit here his weapon of choice is a stocky rifle, not a bow-and-arrow. Odd though it may sound, but Hansel and Gretel look sufficiently badass.
On that note: previously-releated details concerning the Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters screenplay pegged it as being a R-Rated affair that mixes some impressively gory supernatural violence and exciting set pieces with a partly tongue-in-cheek thematic tone that recalls the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show. In her EW interview, Arterton offers support for that idea, as she says the film is “very, very dark, and bloodthirsty and there’s a lot of cursing. It’s kind of got a [Quentin] Tarantino feel, really.”
Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters was co-written by Wirkola and Dante Harper, the latter of which has primarily worked as a post-production supervisor and is making a screenwriting debut here. Hence why it’s (honestly) kind of difficult to say whether this project will amount to a fun bit of popcorn entertainment – or just a lame variation on a famous fairy tale.
Look for the film’s trailer to be available on Screen Rant for viewing, soon.
Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters is slated to hit 2D and 3D theaters around the U.S. on March 2nd, 2012.