After his Nazi zombie horror comedy "Dead Snow" made a bit of a splash at Sundance in 2009, Norwegian director Tommy Wirkola became something of a hot property. He quickly followed that film with the found-footage-horror-parody "Kurt Josef Wagle and The Legend of the Fjord Witch," and was snapped up to make his Hollywood debut for producers Adam McKay and Will Ferrell on "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters," a horror-comedy following the fairy tale characters into adulthood, fifteen years after their first brush with a witch in a gingerbread house.
The project's been ticking along for a while now, with a script from Wirkola, and now it looks like it has a pair of stars, and they're not quite who we were expecting. Jeremy "Loose Lips Sink Ships"' Renner (who spilled that he was going to play Hawkeye in "The Avengers" months before the official announcement) revealed in an interview with Norwegian site Dagsavisen, via Twitch, whose Norwegian skills are better than ours, that he's set to play Hansel in the film, with "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" star Noomi Rapace lined-up to make her Hollywood debut as his sister Gretel (we called this, see here).
Rapace's name had been linked to the project previously, but Renner's a real surprise. They're both terrific actors, and they'll certainly lift the project with their presence, even if we can't help but feel that the material's somewhat beneath them. But Jeremy? You don't need any more potential franchises, you're collecting them like Daniel Craig at this point: aside from "The Avengers," (and presumably a potential "Hawkeye" spin-off at some stage), he's also signed on to team with Tom Cruise on the next "Mission Impossible," a project that Rapace has also been linked to. But at least he turned down "Battleship."
With "Mission: Impossible" filming in December, and "The Avengers" a few months after, we imagine this'll either start filming very soon, or sometime next summer, but either way, it's bad news for Renner's participation in Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master," which seems to be having problems getting its financing together: it was meant to start filming in August, which is done and gone with no sign of filming. We've heard rumors of a fall shoot, but who knows at this point (dear PTA, it's ok to take Paul Dano, he was more age-appropriate anyhow, though at this point, he probably needs a white-hot star. Got Chris Pine's number?).
Update: EW talked to Renner's reps and they said while he has been in early discussions, that's all they are so far and there are no deals, let alone negotiations in place. He's obviously busy with two tentpoles on the way and "Hansel & Gretel" may have to wait if they want him that badly.