On the heels of Warner Brothers’ gothic take on Little Red Riding Hood, Paramount has landed a dark fairy tale of its own. It’s pushing Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters into production, with a projected release in 2011. Producer Adam McKay promises “a steampunk vibe mixed with a little bit of a goth edge and hyper-cartoon violence.”
A dark steampunk retelling of a classic fairy tale? What could go wrong?
In completely unrelated news, McKay also revealed to MTV that producers have approached members of the cast of the Twilight films about starring.
Under the cut, some wild speculation. (The nice thing about a cast of three hundred people under 25 means you can get a pretty decent betting pool going if you put your mind to it.)
The film, co-written and set to be directed by Tommy Wirkola (lighthearted Nazi-zombie flick Dead Snow), seems like the sort of high-concept vehicle that could support an under-the-radar cast, like Kick-Ass (mentioned frequently in the interview by a clearly-jazzed McKay). On the other hand, show me something that wouldn’t benefit from the built-in Twilight fandom and I will pass out from shock, so there’s sound logic behind courting your Cullens of choice.
The question is: which ones?
The franchise’s two most bankable stars—Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson—have been scrabbling for artsy period pieces and gritty indie dramas just to escape typecasting, which they will have to continue to do for the next two hundred years before people stop referring to them as Bella and Edward, so the chances of them being up for a stunt-heavy fairy-tale witchfest together are slim.
More attainably, Jackson Rathbone seems to be the cast’s dark horse in terms of fan appeal, and will probably gather more fans after The Last Airbender is released. Bonus: his slate hasn’t quite filled up for the year, so they might actually be able to snag him. Double bonus: by then, he should be plenty used to the stunts.
For Gretel, it seems like a no-contest for Dakota Fanning—and it might not even be a lost cause. (Hey, she did Push.) If she turns it down, though, I’d say the next best thing would be Rachelle Lefevre, who was unceremoniously dumped from Eclipse. She has more screen presence than most of the Backup Cullens, and at least she doesn’t have the Twilight scheduling worries any more.
Though it sounds like Hansel and Gretel has its sights set on the biggest stars it can get. Says McKay, “It’s such a great script that I have a feeling people are going to be dying to play roles in it. Also, the witches are awesome in it. Nasty, mean witches, and we’ll get some great actresses for them as well.” (Finally, the actresses over thirty will have something to do!)
We’ll be keeping tabs on this one as it goes into production, since it would be great to have a steampunk fable that doesn’t end up like The Brothers Grimm. And if you can’t wait for a dark-fairy-tale fix, SyFy’s version of Hansel and Gretel is due in just a few months, which should be plenty to whet your appetite.
Genevieve is looking forward to this movie, just as long as they maintain the Schrödinger’s Cast. She talks about questionable casting choices and other movie matters on her blog.