With the help of a ‘blood-spattered’ white carpet, trees and a machine that produced bubbles for a fake snow effect, Event Cinemas on George Street was transformed into a grim Winter wonderland for the Australian premiere of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (out Feb. 7) last night. Leading stars Jeremy Renner, in Vivienne Westwood, and Gemma Arterton, beautiful in an Erdem dress and Bulgari jewels, were on hand to promote the dark action flick, along with writer/director Tommy Wirkola and producer Kevin Messick.
British beauty Gemma did most of her own stunts in the movie — one that was too dangerous saw her character fall through three floors in a house, which resulted in her stunt double getting a “rusty old nail through her ear, like right close to her brain! But she was OK!” — and sustained an injury when she accidentally “cut my thumb open on a blade because [laughs] I forgot it was a real blade. It wasn’t even in the stunt, I was just running my finger across it, because usually it’s a blunt knife that you use. I just ran my finger along it and [makes cutting noise] — it was horrible. Right open. It was on the last day so it was OK.”
Jeremy, who was back in Sydney after a quick promotional trip for The Bourne Legacy last August, talked about the film’s lighter moments that aren’t heavily featured in promos and trailers: “There are some funny moments. I would never call it a comedy — it was just by circumstances that were absurd that make it have a sense of humour to it. And we don’t take ourselves too seriously in the movie. There’s a slight wink to a lot of the things that we do in it, so we’re not just these brooding witch hunters.” Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is considered a fairy tale for adults and when asked whether he’d like to do more child-friendly movies, Jeremy responded, “Not really, but it would be nice to do one or two.”
The blockbuster opened strongly in the US last week but has received poor reviews from critics. Both Jeremy and Gemma weren’t fussed by the criticism, with Gemma saying, “It’s not for them, it’s for the audience and they seem to be enjoying it, so that’s the main thing.”