By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com January 5, 2011 at 2:16AM
We're starting to wonder if we've been played. For months now, Gemma Arterton has been the movie-world equivalent of Julian Assange -- it seemed like every new interview would see the rising actress reveal a new project that was involved with: the "Alien" prequel, the Christopher Nolan-penned "The Keys To The Street," the British western "In With The Outlaws," Michael Winterbottom's "London Fields," Italian gangster flick "Corsica 72," biopics of Marianne Faithful and Courtney Love, and Michael Mann's "Capa."
Overnight, however, news broke of Arterton's next gig, and surprisingly, it's none of these -- instead, it's a project which has long seemed to be set for another much-talked about actress. Heat Vision reports that Arterton will star alongside Jeremy Renner in "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters," a horror actioner from Adam McKay & Will Ferrell's Gary Sanchez shingle, which Tommy Wirkola, the director of Nazi zombie flick "Dead Snow" will helm.
One of a series of dark fairy tale reboots in the works, the script, from "All You Need Is Kill" writer D.W. Harper, follows the sibling pairing into adulthood, having survived their early encounter with the gingerbread house, and grown into full-time killers of witches. Renner's been mentioned, although not confirmed, for the role of Hansel for some time, and it was previously assumed that "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" star Noomi Rapace would be playing his sister.
However, it's Arterton that has landed it over Rapace (Diane Kruger and Eva Green were also apparently in the running) while Renner appears to be locked in. Interestingly, the film, which will begin shooting on March 7th, is working to a very tight window in the actor's availability -- Renner only has an eight-week break between the tentpole shoots of "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" and "The Avengers," which kicks off in May.
With such a tight shoot, Heat Vision suggests that Paramount may be planning to rush the film into theaters as soon as this October, in time for Halloween, although with the third "Paranormal Activity" film likely to be coming from the same studio, a January 2012 release is thought to be more likely. Either way, beating Timur Bekmambetov's similarly-themed "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," which hits June 22, 2012, is a priority.
Although it's not exactly our usual cup of tea, this could turn out to be a heap of fun -- the behind-the-scenes pedigree is pretty strong, with Ferrell & McKay overseeing a rising director and one of the most sought-after writers around, and Renner and Arterton should make an appealing duo (even if we'd like it if Renner would fit something less action-oriented into his 2011 schedule). We'll find out if our faith is misplaced sometime in the next twelve months.