Orion Pictures’ Gretel and Hansel, the latest reimagining of the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale, is coming to theatres January 31, 2020. Osgood “Oz” Perkins directs the upcoming horror from a screenplay he wrote with Rob Hayes. Below is the official synopsis:
A long time ago in a distant fairytale countryside, a young girl leads her little brother into a dark wood in desperate search of food and work, only to stumble upon a nexus of terrifying evil.
The horror roots of the cast and crew run deep, which should provide for an experienced look at the Grimm Brothers’ terrifying world of witchcraft. All of Perkins’ previous writing and directing credits, including The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015) and I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016), are either horrors or thrillers, not to mention the fact he is the son of Psycho (1960) star Anthony Perkins (who played Norman Bates in Hitchcock’s infamous thriller).
Despite the title’s head-turning reversal, Perkins says Gretel and Hansel is “awfully faithful” to the original fairy tale, citing it has only three principal characters—Hansel, Gretel, and the Witch. However, the story is not without its unique perspectives, to which the title hints. “We tried to find a way to make it more of a coming of age story,” says Perkins. “I wanted Gretel to be somewhat older than Hansel, so it didn’t feel like two twelve-year-olds—rather a sixteen-year-old and an eight-year-old.”
Gretel (Sophia Lillis) in Hansel and Gretel (2020)
For the titular role of Gretel, Perkins turned to an experienced horror star—Sophia Lillis. The young actress made her name portraying Beverly Marsh in the critically acclaimed horror It (2017). She’ll be facing more psychological horrors and terrifying evildoers when Gretel ventures into the dark depths of the woods with her little brother, Hansel, portrayed by newcomer Sammy Leakey.
Alice Krige (Sleepwalkers, Silent Hill) landed the role of Holda (the witch) with an audition tape that Perkins notes was “the weirdest and most wonderful tape.” The supporting cast includes Jessica De Gouw (Young Holda), Charles Babalola (The Hunter), and Ian Kenny (Mounted Knight).
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