Exclusive: Writer/Director Tommy Wirkola Talks the Look of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, the Sequel and More

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tommywirkola - Exclusive: Writer/Director Tommy Wirkola Talks the Look of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, the Sequel and MoreWith Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters arriving on Unrated Blu-ray and DVD today, now’s the perfect time to hear from writer/director Tommy Wirkola about the film, the upcoming sequel and more.

Check out our exclusive interview with Wirkola below, and look for Hansel & Gretel everywhere right now!

Dread Central: With generations of people having heard and read the tale throughout time, can you discuss your process of putting your own touches on the story of “Hansel & Gretel”?

Tommy Wirkola: I always thought that the fairy tale read as a great first act of anything because it’s this fantastically dark and twisted world that leaves the main characters in such a great spot- what happened to them after? So I basically just took that and tried to inject my own sense of humor into it and of course a lot of violence and gore. I just wanted to have some fun with it.

Dread Central: The weaponry you used in the movie and the look of the main characters themselves both were very distinctive; did you go into Hansel & Gretel trying to create these sort of timeless looking characters that still felt like they walked right out of the world of the classic story but also still had modern-esque qualities to them as well?

Tommy Wirkola: Yeah, I would definitely say timeless was our main intention when we were thinking about all those elements; everything still had to feel like it belonged in their world, but we wanted to add some twists to that with adding some modern twists. Hopefully it feels like its own world but still a world that relates to the fairy tale wholly. And again, the weaponry and their attitudes even in the way that they talk adds more fun to the movie for fans.

Dread Central: Going into Hansel & Gretel how early on did you guys begin planning the look of the creatures and witches in the film? How much of that was your input?

Tommy Wirkola: Well in the case of the witches, we knew from the very start that we wanted practical effects – prosthetics with different, cool designs – and we also knew that in general we wanted to sort of recreate the look of witches as bad guys in the movie. We wanted them to be more like animals.

But for Edward the Troll, I knew I wanted him to be animatronic. The moment I saw the Hellboy films, I knew that it could be done, and that’s why we called Spectral Motion because they worked on those movies. So we started working with them to design Edward and I’m really proud of how he came out, proud of what Spectral was able to accomplish and of course proud of Derek [Mears], who played Edward. It really turned out to be this wondrous creature, and we barely had to use any sort of CGI enhancements at all, which is something I’m very proud of.

Dread Central: Because of the success of the first film, do you feel like you’ll get a little more freedom on the sequel now that you’ve proven that this kind of take on a classic story can work with an R rating?

Tommy Wirkola: I think so. I wouldn’t say I was held back on this movie at all; it was more that I didn’t get to add quite as much of the gore or the attitude that I wanted to. With the next movie I think I’ll get to do that more, and I’m looking forward to making another movie in this world. There are so many stories you can come up with, and hopefully I’ll find some fun ways to twist those stories.

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The film stars Jeremy Renner (Marvel’s The Avengers, The Bourne Legacy), Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace), Famke Janssen (X-Men), Thomas Mann (Beautiful Creatures) and Peter Stormare (The Big Lebowski). Written and directed by Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow), Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters tells the story of the brother and sister team seeking to avenge their parents’ deaths. But after a lifetime of hunting witches, Hansel and Gretel now must face an evil greater than anything they’ve seen: a terrifying new threat so massive, it could destroy the world as we know it.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters will be available in both its original theatrical version and an unrated version with never-before-seen footage in a Blu-ray/DVD combo or a three-disc Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD combo, both with UltraViolet. The combo packs boast revealing special features that take audiences behind the scenes for a look at the reinvention of the story, an in-depth examination of the gruesome witches and an up close and personal visit with the extraordinary troll, Edward. The film will also be available as a single-disc DVD that includes the theatrical version of the film.

The Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack includes all of the above, as well as a Blu-ray 3D in 1080p high definition with English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description and English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The Blu-ray 3D includes the theatrical version of the film.

Special Features Blu-ray

  • Feature film in high definition (Unrated version)
  • Reinventing Hansel & Gretel
  • The Witching Hours
  • Meet Edward the Troll

    Special Features DVD

  • Feature film in standard definition (Theatrical version)

    hansel and gretel witch hunters blu ray - Exclusive: Writer/Director Tommy Wirkola Talks the Look of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, the Sequel and More

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