When you’ve got Hollywood bona fides as impressive as Oz Perkins’, the bar is set high. With two successful horror films under his belt and a third on the way, it’s safe to say the actor, writer, and director is well on his way to stepping out of the shadow cast by his famous father, “Psycho” star Anthony Perkins. For his third feature film as director, Perkins has set his sights on a dark re-imagining of the famous Brothers Grimm fairytale. In the newly released first trailer, “It Chapter Two” star Sophia Lillis leads a chilling re-telling in “Gretel & Hansel.”
While the general story is well known already, this is what we know from a synopsis of the film (via EW): “A girl (Lillis) and her younger brother (Sammy Leakey) leave home during a time of pestilence and famine. On their travels they encounter a kindly huntsman (Charles Babalola) before finding solace in the home of an elderly woman (Alice Krige) whose motives may not be altogether pure.”
While his face may be familiar to fans of “Legally Blonde” and “Secretary,” Perkins is best known these days as the writer and director of back-to-back horror films “The Blackcoat’s Daughter” (2015), and “I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016),” both of which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Both films received generally positive reviews, earning praise for their atmospheric tension-building and excellent casting.
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“Gretel & Hansel” was written by Rob Hayes, whose biggest prior credit is writing for Michaela Coel’s British comedy series “Chewing Gum.” In an interview with EW, Perkins said the reversed names in the title caught his attention.
“It’s awfully faithful to the original story,” said the director. “It’s got really only three principal characters: Hansel, Gretel, and the Witch. We tried to find a way to make it more of a coming of age story. 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. There was more of a feeling like Gretel having to take Hansel around everywhere she goes, and how that can impede one’s own evolution, how our attachments and the things that we love can sometimes get in the way of our growth.”
Orion Pictures will release “Gretel & Hansel” in theaters on January 31, 2020. Check out the first trailer below.