Catching up with Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) 15 years after the traumatic incident involving a gingerbread house, the siblings have evolved into vengeful bounty hunters dedicated to exterminating witches. Over the years, the siblings became expert hunters, famous for their proficiency at tracking and taking down their prey. Although still recovering from their ordeal, their work is relatively easy as for an unknown reason harmful spells and curses do not work well against them. The Mayor of Augsburg recruits them to rid the town and nearby forests of an evil sorceress (Famke Janssen) who is planning to sacrifice many local children at the witches’ gathering during the upcoming ‘Blood Moon’ night in two days time. To make things worse, the duo also has to deal with the brutal Sheriff Berringer (Peter Stormare) who has taken power in Augsburg and conducts a very indiscriminate witch-hunt of his own. Directed by Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow), ‘Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters’ is pencilled in for a January 25th release in the US and a March 15th release in the UK. My Gemma Arterton interview for the film can be read here, while my Jeremy Renner interview can be read here.
Can you recall your initial reaction to the script when you first read it? Also, what’s your background with the Brothers Grimm stories?
Famke Janssen: I grew up with the Brothers Grimm stories, they were very much a part of my upbringing in general, growing up in Holland. I was told the stories by my parents and I read the stories myself, so when this script was first sent to me I thought, “That’s clever.” I know that these Brothers Grimm stories have been sort of in vogue recently, these classic fairy tale stories told in different kinds of way, but they’re not told in this kind of a way. In that we see Hansel and Gretal as grownups, now taking matters into their own hands and hunting the witches who were responsible of the demise of their parents. I thought about it, because these Brothers Grimm stories were already really dark, and this script made it feel very fitting, an R-rated film not really told for children because….ultimately the stories were very scary for kids to begin with (laughs). It just made a lot of sense to me. It did feel like a natural progression.
A funny new twist on a classic love story, ‘Warm Bodies’ is a poignant tale about the power of human connection. After a zombie epidemic, R (a highly unusual zombie) encounters Julie (a human survivor), and rescues her from a zombie attack. Julie sees that R is different from the other zombies, and as the two form a special relationship in their struggle for survival, R becomes increasingly more human – setting off an exciting, romantic, and often comical chain of events that begins to transform the other zombies and maybe even the whole lifeless world. ‘Warm Bodies’ stars Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Rob Corddry, John Malkovich, Analeigh Tipton and Dave Franco. Directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50), the film is set for release on Febuary 1st in the US and Febuary 8th in the UK.
Playing a zombie who feels trapped and lonely, stumbling around an abandoned airport that is his home and wanting more from life….I’m pretty sure a character like that doesn’t come around that often?
Nicholas Hoult: Yeah (laughs). I was drawn to the challenge and I loved both the book and the script. This young zombie, R, he feels trapped in his zombie state. The most compelling thing about R as a character is his want and need to connect. He wants to connect with the other zombies in the airport, even though they’ve got nothing to really say to him and they can’t even say their names. He wants to connect with them to feel alive. That’s one of the most human instincts ever – to want to feel a part of something and to connect with another human. I have to try to make an audience care about and root for this zombie, that was very interesting to me. In the script he was very funny and eloquent in his voiceover, so there was a charm about him and a humor as well.
Action icon Arnold Schwarzenegger makes his much-anticipated lead role return to the big screen in Jee-woon Kim’s ‘The Last Stand.’ After leaving his LAPD narcotics post following a bungled operation that left him wracked with remorse and regret, Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) moved out of Los Angeles and settled into a life fighting what little crime takes place in sleepy border town Sommerton Junction. But that peaceful existence is shattered when Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), the most notorious, wanted drug kingpin in the western hemisphere, makes a deadly yet spectacular escape from an FBI prisoner convoy. Alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Eduardo Noriega, the likes of Jaimie Alexander, Zach Gilford, Forest Whitaker, Luis Guzman, Rodrigo Santoro, Johnny Knoxville, Alexander, Peter Stormare, Harry Dean Stanton and Genesis Rodriguez co-star. Look out for ‘The Last Stand’ from January 18th in the US and January 25th in the UK. My interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger for the film can be read here, while my Jaimie Alexander interview can be read here.
For me it’s such an interesting combination, a film directed by Jee-woon Kim and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Then actually working with Arnold, I can imagine that was incredibly exciting as someone who grew up watching his films?
Rodrigo Santoro: Yeah. I think the 12 year-old that lives inside me screamed, “What! You’re doing a movie with Arnold?!” Really?! It’s Conan man, it’s friggin’ Terminator! That’s awesome man, we’re really doing it.” (Laughs) And I agreed, I was like, “Yep, we’re doing it.” And yeah, knowing that I’d be working with Jee-woon Kim, who’s a fantastic director, he’s incredibly talented, that was a big thing. Arnold, he’s an institution. And he said it, “I’ll be back.” He is back, definitely. And I loved that combination of Jee-woon Kim and Arnold, it’s an unexpected combination. For me it was a no brainer to do this movie.
With his mother in rehab and his father out of the picture, young Woody Watson (Michael Rainey Jr.) lives with his grandmother (Lonette McKee) in suburban Baltimore and longs for his family to be reunited. His charismatic Uncle Vincent (Common) has recently returned home after eight years in prison, determined to straighten out his life by opening a high-end crab shack that will establish him as a solid citizen with a legitimate future.
One day, instead of dropping Woody off at school, Vincent decides to give the boy a tutorial on how “a man gets things done.” After a trip to a tailor to get Woody a custom-fitted suit, the pair heads to the bank to sign off on the loan Vincent needs to fulfill his dreams. But when his meeting with a bank officer puts the brakes on his plans, Vincent has no one to turn to for help but his former associates, including Baltimore crime boss Mr. Fish (Dennis Haysbert) and his brother Arthur (Danny Glover). A day that begins with a parking-lot driving lesson and Woody’s first oyster takes a desperate turn when Fish insists Vincent run one more drug deal to demonstrate his loyalty. Soon Vincent finds himself pulled back into the violent world he is trying to escape – and Woody has to decide whether to follow his hero, or become his own man. ‘Luv’ is set for a January 18th release in the US. Fingers crossed a UK release date is announced soon.
The title of this film ‘Luv,’ that’s a theme you frequently touch on in your music, the many facets of it….
Common: Yeah. First of all, the word love is the most important word in my life, you know? That’s what I live by: love. A movie with heart can move any human being, and likewise with music. And I feel through filmmaking and music you can heal people, you can inspire, motivate, do all that! Help better people. I think we achieved that in ‘Luv,’ and the title being “love” is a great thing, I dug that. My motivation as an actor is to keep growing, to take on roles that challenge me to grow as an actor. Anything I have a passion for artistically I always strive for excellence. I really want to play characters or tell stories that have depth of humanity, that can heal and help inspire people that need that. I always like when a role or story has that substance to it, for it to have an effect upon society.
The day their father killed their mother, sisters Victoria and Lilly vanished near their suburban neighborhood. For five long years, their uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain), have been madly searching for them. But when the kids are found alive in a decrepit cabin, the couple wonders if the girls are the only guests they have welcomed into their home. As Annabel tries to introduce the children to a normal life, she grows convinced of an evil presence in their house. Are the sisters experiencing traumatic stress, or is a ghost coming to visit them? How did the broken girls survive those years all by themselves? As she answers these disturbing questions, the new mother will find that the whispers she hears at bedtime are coming from the lips of a deadly presence. ‘Mama’ arrives in cinemas on January 18th in the US and Febuary 22nd in the UK. Directed by Andy Muschietti and from executive producer Guillermo del Toro, the film stars Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nélisse. My Interview with Jessica Chastain for ‘Mama’ can be read here.
Can you recall your initial reaction to the script and also Andy Muschietti’s short film version of ‘Mama’?
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: I knew the genre of the story, but I didn’t expect the story to evolve as it did. It’s like you read one of those horrible stories in the paper about a guy who’s lost it and had a breakdown and killed his whole family and himself; that’s how it starts. Then suddenly, the story becomes something very different. But when I saw Andy and Barbara’s short, I could see clearly that Andy is unique in how he uses the camera. I loved how the short is about these kids and Mama, but it’s almost like you can feel them.
Catching up with Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) 15 years after the traumatic incident involving a gingerbread house, the siblings have evolved into vengeful bounty hunters dedicated to exterminating witches. Over the years, the siblings became expert hunters, famous for their proficiency at tracking and taking down their prey. Although still recovering from their ordeal, their work is relatively easy as for an unknown reason harmful spells and curses do not work well against them. The Mayor of Augsburg recruits them to rid the town and nearby forests of an evil sorceress (Famke Janssen) who is planning to sacrifice many local children at the witches’ gathering during the upcoming ‘Blood Moon’ night in two days time. To make things worse, the duo also has to deal with the brutal Sheriff Berringer (Peter Stormare) who has taken power in Augsburg and conducts a very indiscriminate witch-hunt of his own. Directed by Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow), ‘Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters’ is pencilled in for a January 25th release in the US and a March 15th release in the UK. My Gemma Arterton interview for the film can be read here.
15 years after Hansel and Gretal hatched their escape from a child-snatching witch, they’ve become these fierce, formidably skilled bounty hunters dedicated to tracking and terminating witches….
Jeremy Renner: Yeah. Hansel and Gretal have become bounty hunters, they don’t like witches, for very good reason, right (laughs)? It was really important to all of us for Hansel and Gretal to have a deep bond, that was really really important – in going through such a tragedy, when you only have each other. They don’t have parents, witches have tried to eat them and what Hansel and Gretal have taken away is that you’ve got to take your personal anger and pain and do something good with it.