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Paramount’s Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters project found its Hansel in Jeremy Renner; now it’s time to add Gretel, who will be played by none other than Gemma Arterton. The young actress made a name for herself this year starring in the blockbuster Clash of the Titans, the wannabe blockbuster Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and the Stephen Frears' film Tamara Drewe. Now she's looking to hunt some witches in this darker, action-oriented film that takes place several years after the classic Brothers Grimm tale.
Considered for the role before Arterton picked it up were Eva Green, Diane Kruger, and Noomi Rapace. All three each have projects currently in development, whereas Arterton’s slate is clean at the moment. Plus her performance in the West End production of The Little Dog Laughed was lauded, so maybe her recent film ventures were simply poor showcases for her talent.
Tommy Wirkola, director of “Witch Hunters,” wants shooting to commence in March, which means that Renner won’t be slowing down any time soon. He’s currently working on Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol. After that finishes up, he's off to shoot The Avengers in the eight weeks following the wrap-up of “Ghost Protocol.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision Blog speculates that Paramount might release the film around Halloween this year, but All's Hallows Eve is already loaded for Paramount with the third film in the Paranormal Activity franchise and the horror flick Dibbuk Box set for late October release, so we might be seeing it early next year.
Since January, February and March usually serve as studio dumping grounds for films that are hardly worth the trip to a nearby cinema -- if they're worth watching at all -- a release for "Witch Hunters" in that time frame wouldn't be favorable. For quality’s sake, let’s hope that this dark adaptation gets an appropriate October release.