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  Nicole   January 07, 2013

Hansel and Gretel New Still

15 years after Hansel and Gretel hatched their escape from a child-snatching witch, they’ve become these fierce, formidably skilled bounty hunters dedicated to tracking and terminating witches….
Gemma Arterton:
Yeah. I love the original fairy tale and this starts there, then it makes a real departure. The film joins up with Hansel and Gretel in the midst of their fame as witch hunters. But it’s also a time when they’re starting to wonder who they are and why their parents abandoned them when they were kids. They’re doing their job and its become quite mundane – even though it’s killing witches (laughs)! But then something comes into the story which elevates everything and makes it more tense for them. Lots of things come together.

The brother-sister dynamic between Hansel and Gretel always stays at the heart of the action. Was that something that appealed to you about this film?
Gemma Arterton:
Definitely. Hansel and Gretel have this unstoppable bond but they’re also so different from each other. They sort of have the same instincts and the same mind, they’re very in-tune with one another. Yet, they are so different. She is the brains of the operation and he is the brawn. He’s the joker and the show-off. She lets him do that (laughs), that’s how it works. She’s very much more the watcher, the researcher, the one who tries to really understand witchcraft – the serious one (laughs). The thing that I loved about the script was that at the heart of it there’s this brother and sister relationship, a brother and sister who have been through loads. They’ve lost their parents, they don’t know who they are, and they’re reliant on each other. The sibling relationship is such a great one to explore.

How was it building that sibling rapport with Jeremy Renner?
Gemma Arterton:
That dynamic was great to work with Jeremy on. He can do all of this action stuff, he’s a pro, he’s amazing at it. But also, he really does have the sensitivity as well, he accesses that when needed. There’s a lot of fun to their relationship as well. I think Jeremy and I, from the offset, got on incredibly well, it was immediate. We had that banter, and we behaved like brother and sister on and off set (laughs). That was fun.

How was it working opposite the witches prosthetics. I can imagine that helps with your performance….?
Gemma Arterton: I was just amazed, I’ve never seen prosthetics like it. They made people look repulsive (laughs). There was one with a tumor growing out of its face, you really were quite horrified when you saw them. Yet, it’s one of the things that I loved the most about working on this film: the comedy/horror style. The witches are funny as well, the way that they move and the way that they speak. But as an actor it’s great, you don’t have to imagine anything, it’s there, it’s truly, “Urgh,” (laughs). It was such a vision that was accomplished. The costumes and the make-up was incredible.

And the costumes, they look like they belong in a fairy tale world, but they also have this badass bounty hunter look to them. What was it like working with the costume designers on that?
Gemma Arterton: Oh man. Marlene Stewart had come up with these drawings and everyone went crazy for them, I thought that they were great. Originally it was like thigh-high boots, it was very gothic looking. But then we softened it a little bit, made it a bit more hunter-like with the forest colours… but still leather pants (laughs). I mean, it’s a period movie but not so, so I could wear trousers – which was great, as I had to do a lot of running around. I think my costume evolved to being practical and quite tomboy-ish, yet still quite sexy. Honestly, Marlene done such a great job with where that costume went, I’d wear that costume down the street – I love it (laughs). Marleen, she’s such a clever designer.

How was the training process for you and Jeremy on this project?
Gemma Arterton: We worked closely with stunt coordinator David Leitch and his team. We worked for three weeks, intensive! I came in before anybody and met up with the stunt team. I worked with them intensively on my physicality, I learnt how to fight for this role. I’d done stunt training for three years when I was studying, but this was an intensive boot camp. It was so helpful, incredibly helpful. It just rooted me and made me so much more present with Gretal. There’s so much Gretel goes through!

Speaking before the interview, you were saying how much you enjoyed working with Peter Stormare….
Gemma Arterton: Peter is one of my favourite actors… he doesn’t know this (laughs), but he is one of my favourite actors and he’s in one of my favourite films – a film that inspired me to be an actress, actually. So when I heard that he was in this film I was thrilled, I was like, “Yes!!!!” (Laughs) He’s this guy that on a sixpence can turn. He’s a real chameleon. He can play anything, he can do anything. And Peter, he has this great presence when you meet him. He’s so tall and big, he has this booming voice – yet he can play pathetic. And that’s what was needed, as Berigin only does what he does because he’s scared – like many dictators or rulers or anyone who needs power does. But it was so great working with him.