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We're going to have a lot of opportunities to see Jeremy Renner as an action hero in the coming months and years, starting with the hotly anticipated Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, in which he goes toe to toe with Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt, and stretching into next summer's The Avengers (in which he plays Hawkeye) and The Bourne Legacy, in which Renner continues the franchise previously led by Matt Damon. Believe it or not he's got one more movie in the mix too, this one not a continuation of a franchise but an attempt at starting a new one. On March 2 he and Gemma Arterton will be toplining Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters., a spin on the classic fairy tale in which they play the adult versions of the children popped in the oven by a wicked witch. Entertainment Weekly has the first look at their characters, which you can also see below.
As you can tell, there's no lederhosen or Heidi braids here; Hansel and Gretel, scarred by their childhood experiences, have become professional witch hunter, badasses whom Arterton compares to characters from a Quentin Tarantino movie. Here's how she describes where the story picks up:
They resonate with your fears, that’s how these fairy tales worked. They scared you into behaving. This one in particular is about abandonment and being lost and parents leaving you. The heart of it is that these kids grow up to be bloodthirsty witch hunters. It’s a bit tongue in cheek, really. What would Hansel and Gretel be in 15 years time?
Given the action chops Renner has shown before it's no surprise to hear that he'll be exacting revenge, but I'm even more interested to see how Arterton fares. She was in the unfortunate position of showing up in a ton of high-profile action movies all at once, starting with Quantum of Solace and then leading into two legitimate turkeys, Clash of the Titans and Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. She seemed perfectly aware that she had signed on to too much too fast, and hopefully her participation in Witch Hunters means it'll be a move toward the better. She at least looks the part in her ass-kicking gear.
With the early March release date it sounds like Paramount isn't expecting Witch Hunters to be a mega-hit, but maybe the kind of modestly scaled spring action film that's totally enjoyable anyway. We'll be getting a trailer for the film next week, so at least it won't be long before we know more.