Its hard to entirely shake the memory of the first time I encountered Famke Janssen. At the age of 14 I was sat on a trans-atlantic flight watching the return of James Bond in GoldenEye, and the aforementioned Janssen- within minutes of her first appearance as villainess, Xenia Onatopp- she proceeded, clad in black lingerie, to suffocate a man to death by squeezing the air out of his lungs with her long legs. In my rather fevered adolescent state I had decided how I wanted to die and did not care if it was very soon. Since that profoundly affecting debut, things have not been so spectacular for the Dutch actress. In spite of a consistent career of film and TV, the majority of her roles (X-Men saga aside) have been either forgettable or unmentionable. Her next starring role, however, is on the surface so preposterous it seems to have cult appeal written all over it: a SEQUEL to the Hansel and Gretel fairytale entitled Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters - where she has been tapped to play the head witch. Two time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner and another former Bond girl Gemma Arterton play the title characters. Paramount are hoping to film soon (March 7th has been touted as possible start date) so it'll be one of the earlier films released in next year's fairytale re-imagining fad. Now if you are wondering what happened to the first film, worry not, there wasnt one, but Norwegian director Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow) seems to have grasped the zeitgeist where fairy tale adaptations are concerned and decided to do his own thing with a classic myth. According to the man himself:
"....it's an action-adventure horror movie that finds Hansel and Gretel fifteen years and they've grown up to become merciless witch hunters. Blood and gore and action, all the stuff that I love. (...) It's definitely an R-rated movie, the first draft has a lot of blood and guts. First and foremost, it's an action movie, I think, with horror elements. And of course some dark humour as well. But the action and horror are the most import feelings I want."Janssen clearly has a gift for the sensually evil and such silliness- unless it is knowing- can often be an entertainment all of its own. Though one may be hoping against hope that, in the end, the witch is able to put pay to her foes- Onatopp style!