Sophia Lillis has been cast in an exciting new project – a film retelling of the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale, titled Gretel and Hansel. The teenage actress was thrust into the limelight with her performance as Beverly Marsh in last year’s film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, IT, which is the first of two installments. Lillis will return for IT Chapter Two, but only for some of the film; the parts of the movie that don’t take place in the 1980s will see Jessica Chastain as a grown-up Beverly.
Lillis’ only notable project before IT was the drama 37 opposite Samira Wiley. However, she has begun to sort of carve out a niche for herself playing younger versions of acclaimed actresses. This year, she starred in the HBO miniseries Sharp Objects, portraying star Amy Adams’ Camille as a teenager. Lillis will also star as the eponymous young detective in the upcoming mystery Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase. Now, she’s secured another leading role.
As reported by THR, Lillis will star in Gretel and Hansel, presumably as the eponymous Gretel, which will be helmed by Osgood Perkins, who got his start as an actor in comedy films from the early 2000s, such as Legally Blonde and Not Another Teen Movie. Perkins has since moved behind the scenes, writing and directing American-Canadian horror films The Blackcoat’s Daughter and I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House. The film does not yet have a release date but is set to begin shooting this fall in Ireland.
The film will tell the tale of a desperate girl and her younger brother who “stumble upon a nexus of terrifying evil” while searching for sustenance. But while this seems to be on par with the fairy tale, it’s not the first reimagining of the old story. In 2013, the film Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters was released. The genre mashup, which featured Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the adult versions of the titular characters, was a gory, campy, 3D mess, with very unlikable protagonists. Despite this, there’s actually quite a market for this kind of flimsy spinoff action flick, and a sequel was commissioned. This was later said to have been in the process of being retooled as a TV series by the original director, Tommy Wirkola, but nothing has been heard of the project since last year.
It appears as though this new film will be taking a much more straightforward approach to the tale. Perkins also wrote the script, along with Rob Hayes, and all of his work has been intense psychological horror. Likewise, Lillis has yet to take on any comedic projects, setting herself up as a dramatic performer.