Jeremy Renner & Gemma Arterton talk “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters”
What happens to our favorite fairy tale characters when the last page is read? In “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters,” the two children grow up wreaking havoc and carrying out revenge on any witch that crosses their paths.
Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner star as the film’s titular characters 15 years after they escape and kill the witch that captured them in a house made of candy. Hansel and Gretel are now famous bounty hunters travelling from town to town killing witches when they come across a town that holds the secrets to their past.
Arterton and Renner spoke to La Prensa de Houston about the dark side of the Brothers Grimm, developing their brother-sister relationship, and how fairy tales lend themselves to Hollywood cinema.
AG: Congratulations on the film, because it is not what I expected at all. It was very different from what I thought it would be, so it’s definitely got that element of surprise. What, for you, was the most surprising twist in this story that made you two want to be a part of this film?
GA: Really that Hansel and Gretel grow up to become these witch hunters. That’s the biggest twist. I’d never really thought about what happens to them after the fairy tale that we all finished. That’s where our film begins.
AG: What was the most fun for you in preparing for this film?
JR: I think finding the character and realizing you have to act in tandem with Gemma to really make what the tone and feel of the movie is. The relationship was the most fun, just kind of diving into that. It’s what we have to hold on to as actors as well, to face all of our truth in that relationship, because everything else around us was flying witches and freaks and the whole thing. That was the most fun, I think, because Gemma was so easy to work with. We instantly connected, so that made it even more fun.
AG: This is definitely not a film for children, because it was actually kind of scary. If you think about it, though, most Brothers Grimm fairy tales are pretty dark. Which other Brothers Grimm fairy tale characters do you think could be hardcore like this version of Hansel and Gretel?
GA: I’m thinking about fairy tales now and all those princesses and such, so I think Rapunzel is pretty hardcore. She lets people climb up her hair, so good for her.
AG: I feel like Hollywood keeps making these childhood stories into darker and edgier movies and TV shows, like this film, Once Upon a Time on ABC, and I believe there was even a dark show about the Brothers Grimm themselves. What do you think it is about this kind of plot twist that keeps audiences asking for more?
JR: I think it’s the world, because it’s cinematic. It’s a form of fantasy, just like what comics are to comic book fans. There’s something very cinematic and a bit more grounded. Just think of fables and fairy tales, and we have that in spades.
AG: I think my favorite scene is when Edward stands up for you, Gemma, and takes care of the sheriff and his gang. It kind of reminded me of the Avengers when the Hulk smashes Loki from side to side, it kind of catches you off guard. What were your favorite scenes to film?
GA: I loved any of the scenes with Jeremy, really. We have a lot of fun playing brother and sister with the banter, and there are some tender scenes as well that were kind of beautiful to get in this crazy action, adventure movie. That, for me, was the best thing about this movie, this brother and sister duo.
JR: I loved working every day on this damn movie. I didn’t want it to end.
AG: Another crazy scene for me was those witches at the end. They kind of gave me goose bumps. What was it like working with those witches?
JR: Oh, it was fun. It’s like doing live theater or something. The set was built, and the witches were really flying on wires and the whole thing. At some points when you took breaks it was great, because you really see what all their make-up was. There were about 60 witches, so it was actually kind of fun to see which one we were going to fight next. That was a really trippy, acid, Halloween party.
AG: By the end of 2012, both of you have played some really iconic roles, so what goals do you have for the end of 2013?
GA: My goal is just to keep hopefully getting interesting work and doing it (laughs). I don’t like to plan, so I don’t have any specific goals. I would like to be more fluent in different languages, I think.
AG: Do you either of you have anything to say that I haven’t mentioned about the film that you’d like the readers here in Houston to know?
GA: I would say that they should just go see the film, it’s great.
JR: Yeah, it’s a good ride.