Rising genre filmmaker Oz Perkins has signed on to direct Gretel and Hansel for Orion Pictures and Automatik Entertainment, Collider has exclusively learned.
Rob Hayes (Netflix’s Chewing Gum) wrote the script, which sources describe as a faithful version of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale about a pair of siblings kidnapped by a terrifying witch who lives in the surrounding woods.
Brian Kavanaugh-Jones (Sinister) and Fred Berger (La La Land) will produce for Automatik, and production is expected to start this fall in Europe.
The Hansel and Gretel fairy tale has served as the basis for countless adaptations and re-tellings — the most notable and recent of which was likely Tommy Wirkola‘s Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton. There was also a 1987 version featuring Cloris Leachman as the Witch, a 2002 version featuring Lynn Redgrave as the Witch, and even a stoner version called Hansel & Gretel Get Baked that starred Lara Flynn Boyle as the Witch. The material is so popular that both Tim Burton and The Witch director Robert Eggers made Hansel & Gretel short films early in their careers. At least this new project flips the title and gives Gretel top billing in an effort to distinguish itself.
Perkins is the up-and-coming director of A24’s The Blackcoat’s Daughter starring Emma Roberts and Kiernan Shipka and Netflix’s haunted house movie I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House starring Ruth Wilson. He also wrote The Girl in the Photographs, which was the last film that Wes Craven worked on prior to his death, as well as the crime drama Cold Comes the Night starring Bryan Cranston.
Perkins is also the son of Psycho star Anthony Perkins, and earlier this year he signed on to direct an adaptation of Paul Tremblay‘s thriller A Head Full of Ghosts for Focus Features. He’s represented by CAA, Grandview and attorney Jonathan E. Shikora at Lichter, Grossman, Nichols, Adler & Feldman.