Lock your doors, Wiccans -- because Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton are set to place you on the top of the endangered species list.

THR's Heat Vision says that Arterton has officially joined Renner in Tommy Wirkola's 'Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.' This comes after months of speculation regarding who would play Gretel – including a September report that 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' star Noomi Rapace was going to tackle the role. Rapace didn't get the part, but she wasn't the only actress in the running, as Diane Kruger and Eva Green were also linked to the role. In the end, Arterton won out.

'Hansel & Gretel' is being billed as a dark action film, but since it was written by Wirkola (whose last project was the cult Nazi zombie horror comedy 'Dead Snow') and will be produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's Gary Sanchez Productions, it seems safe to assume that there will be some dark comedy in the mix as well. The title finds the popular fairy tale characters 15 years after their traumatic encounter with the witch in the gingerbread house. Rather than seek therapy through traditional means, the siblings have decided to deal with their witch issues in a slightly more violent way – by hunting them down and slaughtering them. Parents probably won't want to take the kids to a Saturday matinee of this title...

Paramount is pushing to move forward on the project. Hit the jump to find out why they're in such a rush.
Wirkola would like to begin filming 'Hansel & Gretel' this coming March in Berlin and Paramount is onboard with the idea for several reasons.

First, star Jeremy Renner's schedule is packed. The actor will finish 'Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol,' then has a brief eight week break before he starts work on 'The Avengers.' The goal is to shoot his 'Hansel & Gretel' footage in that eight-week window, otherwise Wirkola's film will have to wait until much later in 2011 to begin shooting.

Under normal circumstances, waiting wouldn't be a huge problem. However, Paramount is desperate to get 'Hansel & Gretel' in the can and in theaters prior to the release of Timor Bekmambetov's adaption of 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.' That project, which is being produced by Tim Burton and shot in 3D, has a release date scheduled for June 22, 2012. If Wirkola and Paramount can get the ball rolling, 'Hansel & Gretel' could be ready for theaters in time for the Halloween season. Even if there are small unexpected delays, the film could open in January. If they can't shoot it during that eight-week break in Renner's schedule, though, there's almost no way they beat 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' to the theater. Apparently, there's just not enough room in Hollywood for two films with well-known protagonists hunting down supernatural creatures. It's like an unwritten rule or something...

At any rate, what do you guys think of this casting? Can Arterton pull off the whole "badass witch-killer" thing or would you have preferred to see Rapace in the role? Lisbeth Salander killing witches did have a certain charm to it. Tell us what you think below.
categories Movies, Cinematical