Adam McKay Talks Trolling with Will Ferrell for ‘Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters’
Will Ferrell and Adam McKay on the set of DreamWorks' 'Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy'
Remember when little Hansel and Gretel almost got eaten by a witch in the Grimm Brothers fairy tale that bares their name? Did you ever wonder what might happen when they grew up with a witch-hating chip on their shoulder the size of a magic forest? Adam McKay apparently did.
Though he's better known for directing and writing such comedy classics as "Anchorman" (2004) and "Step Brothers" (2008), McKay is also a prolific producer. Alongside his brother-in-funny Will Ferrell, McKay runs the production shingle Gary Sanchez Productions. Of course comedy comes first, but the creative team wants to make all sorts of movies – including good time gore fests like "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters," which arrives on home entertainment this week.Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton play brother and sister in arms, who, years after their gingerbread house ordeal, now travel the land as bounty hunters, looking for retribution and clues to their unsavory past. Don't worry: it's not as dark as it sounds. If you love filling in the blanks of fairytales past with pulpy, tongue-in-cheek gore, or if you thought the Brothers Grimm needed a lot more high-tech weaponry, then you should definitely spend some quality time.
But first, check out what McKay has to say about the flick. Though he's in the thickets of editing "Anchorman: The Legend Continues," he found time for a phone conversation discussing his role in producing "H&G." However, even though we focused on the film at hand, McKay did offer one indicative nugget about how high your expectations should be set for the sequel: "It honestly was a bit of a changing perspective on the capabilities of mankind."
"Hansel & Gretel" may not change your expectations for humanity, but it will definitely change the way you feel about witches.
How much did you and Will have to do with that fun aspect of it?
Adam McKay: One of our producers, Kevin Messick at Gary Sanchez showed us “Dead Snow,” brought [director Tommy] Wirkola in, and we all hit it off with him precisely for that reason, of that fun aspect. The fact that he was able to mix that badass action with a genuine sense of humor that didn’t feel sweaty.
One of the reasons I marveled at “Avengers,” was that Joss Whedon was actually making me laugh without eroding the stakes of the scenes. While watching “Dead Snow,” I saw that Wirkola could do that in a kind of Sam Raimi-like way. That was it. That’s the reason we hooked on him.
And then when he wrote the script, and all the specifics, the diabetes and the missing kids on the milk bottles, that was like, that’s what revved us up even more about the project. And yet, at the same time, whenever he would write action, it still had a hard edge to it. You just don’t see a lot of people who can combine those two things like that.
So once the script is in shape, walk me through your and Will’s part of this, this whole procedure.
AM: Will and I had spoken to Kevin Messick, who’s one of our best producers at Sanchez, and told him, we wanted to do other kinds of movies. Like, I love horror movies, I love action movies. I’m gonna go see “The Purge!” I watch all kinds of different movies. I watch documentaries! And Kevin’s just great. So, he took my words to heart, and he went and found this movie “Dead Snow” out of Sundance.