Writer-director Tommy Wirkola’s style is one that will either delight you with its over-the-top gore and sick brand of humor, or will disgust you for the same reasons. I’m happily in the former camp. My first introduction to Wirkola’s work was the fantastic original film Dead Snow – two words: Nazi zombies. While I missed his broader effort Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters when it opened in theaters, last night I had the opportunity to attend the premiere of the film in all of its uncut glory. The film may not have found its audience stateside, but the global box office of nearly $225 million gives hope that Wirkola will be around for future efforts. Perhaps the unrated cut version of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, available now on digital platforms and due out on Blu-ray/DVD on June 11th, will find more of a home with American audiences. For my review of that particular cut, which features 12 minutes of previously-unseen bloody and violent footage, hit the jump.
Famke Janssen, the outspoken actress behind Jean Grey of the X-Men films and the leg crushing femme fatale Xenia of Goldeneye, returns to her villainous roots in this week’s Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. It’s good to see Janssen seemingly relish every line as she menaces the brother-sister duo and threatens to bring about a ‘witch-apocalypse’… or something like that. It’s a fun performance and a welcome return for Janssen who’s been absent from cinemas for far too long now (her brief appearances in the Taken franchise withstanding).
In the following interview with Janssen, she talks about her hiatus from acting (she was directing a picture – Bringing Up Bobby – during), the troubles of ‘witch’ prosthetics, and the joy of riding a broomstick. Janssen also touched upon her role in the upcoming Netflix series Hemlock Grove and played coy on whether or not she’s been approached to reprise her role as Jean Grey in any of the upcoming X-Men sequels. For the full interview, hit the jump.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters has had a troubled journey getting to screens. Originally slated to arrive in cinemas last year, the film was delayed for a year and underwent substantial editing changes. According to the film’s director, Tommy Wirkola – this was all due to a dispute over the level of violence in the film – which is surprising considering just how very red and wet the movie being released this Friday actually is. The reimagining of the classic Brothers Grimm tale cast Hansel and Gretel (Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton) as adults who have made it their lives work to hunt and kill the broom riding, child eating witches that almost ate them as children. Head squashing, bodies torn limb from limb, and just good ol’ fashioned decapitation ensue. So how much more violent could the original cut have been?
In the following interview with Wirkola, he discusses just how violent the film used to be and the scene that was just too much for test audiences. He also talks about his affinity for blending horror with comedy, shooting the picture in 3D and his just-finished-written sequel to Dead Snow. For the full interview, hit the jump.
We’re happy to host the exclusive premiere of the new red-band trailer for Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters. While the previous trailer highlighted a lot of the witch-killing action by the brother-and-sister team, this new trailer sheds a bit more light on their backstory. Hansel and Gretel are revealed to have a motive for killing witches that goes beyond just having a badass profession. We also get a few new one-liners from title stars Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton, which are good for a laugh and great for setting the tone of the picture, one that thankfully doesn’t take itself too seriously.
From director Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow) comes the dark fairy tale Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, also starring Peter Stormare, Famke Janssen, Thomas Mann and Zoe Bell, which opens January 25, 2013. Hit the jump to check out the new trailer.
In the action thriller Taken 2, from director Olivier Megaton and co-screenwriters Luc Besson (who’s also a producer on the film) and Robert Mark Kamen, Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, the retired CIA agent who stopped at nothing to save his abducted daughter (Maggie Grace). Two years later, the family of those responsible are now seeking their own vengeance, this time on his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen), with whom Bryan is hoping to reconcile.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Famke Janssen talked about the surprise global success of the first film, her immediate reaction upon hearing about the sequel, working with a new director this time, and the experience of shooting in Istanbul. She also talked about taking three years away from acting to dedicate herself to her full-length feature debut as a writer/director, called Bringing Up Bobby, going through three hours of make-up to play a witch in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, what attracted her to the Eli Roth Netflix series Hemlock Grove, and the next film she’s hoping to direct. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
Gemma Arterton has signed on to star alongside Jeremy Renner in Paramount’s Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. Described by Heat Vision as a “a dark action movie that picks up with the fairy tale siblings years after the traumatic childhood incident has turned them into bounty hunters,” Hansel & Gretel is being directed by Norway’s own Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow).
Per the report, Arterton beat out Diane Kruger (Inglorious Bastards), Eva Green (Casino Royale), and Noomi Rapace (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) for the lead role which could begin shooting in Berlin as early as this March. It is believed that Paramount would like to push Hansel & Gretel ahead of Fox’s own 3D action flick Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter which is currently aiming at a June 22nd, 2012 release. In addition to Witch Hunters, Arterton also landed a role recently alongside Andrew Garfield in Michael Mann’s Capa.
Kalliope Films and The Institute (co-founded by Michael Bay) have unveiled the first teaser poster/promotional photo for their 3D adaptation of Hansel and Gretel, the classic fairytale from the Brothers Grimm. As you may recall from your childhood, the Grimm tale follows the sibling team of Hansel and Gretel as they get lost in the woods and stumble upon a house made of candy. And you know what they say: when things seems too good to be true, it’s probably the work of a witch who likes to eat children.
The film is set for a live-action spring 2011 shoot on location in Germany. Joseph C. Pepe, the lead character designer from Avatar, is spearheading the design of the “Teutonic beings” of German mythology; Scott Gardenhour (Pearl Harbor) and Kira Madallo Sesay are credited as producers. Hit the jump to check out the ominous artwork in high resolution alongside the official announcement.