The trades report Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time) has joined Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Town) in the title roles. (They have similar face shapes — we like it.) Will Ferrell, Chris Henchy, Adam McKay and Kevin J. Messick are producing, so we assume there’ll be some comedy accompanying the dark action when cameras roll this March in Berlin.Could this be the greatest twist on the fairytale genre since Shrek? The leads are now set for Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, the film set 15 years after the siblings killed the witch who kidnapped them — and finds them working as witch-seeking bounty hunters.
This project, first announced in 2009, is, as you know, not the only fairytale update in the works. We’re all awaiting Catherine Hardwicke’s Red Riding Hood, which hits theaters this March, and there are said to be at least two Snow White films in development: Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman and Relativity Media’s The Brothers Grimm: Snow White. It seems fairytales are the new comic books when it comes to adaptations (or the new board games, though we suspect the fairytale flicks will be easier to get off the ground since they have an actual story to begin with). Even without Hardwicke’s name in the mix, it’s fair to ask if this is a Twilight effect … The vampire genre has a strong female base, I think, because it’s a safe kind of dark: You watch Criminal Minds, and you see horrific things that could conceivably happen to you (not fun); you watch vampires fight over a young woman, and you can still sleep at night because vampires don’t exist. That fantasy element should give these fairytale films a wide audience. What do you think, PopWatchers? Is this genre one you’re happy to see expanding?