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How close is "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" to the original fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm?  

The film is set 15 years after the events in the fairy tale. Normally fairy tales end with a happy ending. But in this case Hansel and Gretel are still very angry because the witch wanted to kill them. For that reason they are bounty hunters now, hunting witches. It is a funny continuation of the fairy tale.  

While shooting this movie, did it feel real or was most of it in front of a green screen?  

Oh, no, it felt very real, very practical. It was funny at times on set. There were witches flying around everywhere, attached to cables of course. It was a lot of fun. 

What do you make of this world of Hansel & Gretel? 

I love it. The whole time I felt as if I was living in this mystical world. And I didnít really want to leave that world. I like that kind of life. Itís somewhat primal, and that is right after my taste.  

Tell us a little bit about Hansel & Gretel. They are brother and sister without parents, right?  

Yes, thatís true. They only have each other - another aspect I really liked about this film. They are alone, and they have a lot of pain inside of them. But they use that pain to do something good.  

Why donít the witches harm them though?  

Thatís the beauty of this story. Their spells donít work on Hansel & Gretel. Itís really cool, but they still need to be very careful. Some witches are more dangerous than others. 

The casting in this movie is near perfect. You and Gemma really do look like brother and sisterÖ. 

I agree. It was really funny when we saw each other for the first time because we both realized that we looked alike. And Gemma is truly a great find. She just fit the part perfectly. We were all very lucky to have her.  

What attracted you to this project? 

I saw a lot of room for this character to grow, to experiment. And as I said I love moving around in this world. And I thought it was pretty cool to find a new modern twist on this old fairytale.  

So, Jeremy what is the best way to kill a witch? 

Itís good to try to go after the head Ė as you can see a couple times in the movie. That seems to work very well (Laughter).  

On screen, you always seem to be very tough. How brave are you in real life? 

I don't know. I can run very fast and would rather run than fight.

Do you regret something you have not done out of fear?

I try to face my fears and not run away from them. I was really afraid of sharks so I got my diving license and dived with them. I'm still afraid of sharks but I understand that fear better now. No matter whether it is something spiritual or physical that scares us, it is always just the unknown. When I realized that, I felt no fear in me anymore and I knew that nothing could stop me in life.

In terms of your acting career, you never gave up. What made you keep going even when you could not pay your bills anymore? 

For me there was no Plan B. Acting made me happy even in the most difficult times. There were times where I could hardly afford a meal. I asked myself if I'm happy and I could say yes. Of course I didn't like the fact that I was starving but my work made me happy. It gives you strength - when you go through really hard times, but you don't do acting because of the money, but because you love it.

Do you work so much right now because there were times were you had no work at all?

No, it currently just happened. I would never intentionally do five films in a row. I would rather have more preparation time or take some more time for me. But it has turned out that way and I take that as a challenge. Do I want to work? Yes, I do. But I do not need so many films at once [laughs].

How did your life change after the Oscar nominations and with the star status you have right now?

The level of attention and recognition has changed. They offer me a lot more roles; I get also higher quality and larger roles. Other than that, everything is as it always was. I get up every day and face the challenges that are waiting out there.

How do you choose your roles nowadays?

No matter what film it is, first of all the character is important to me. This is the part where I can bring something to it as an artist. Therefore, it is important to me that my character brings something to the story and that it is a complex figure. I must be emotionally or physically challenged. I want to learn something and not do things that I already have done a thousand times.

It seems that you like to play characters that are hard to assess at first.

I enjoy playing characters where the audience does not know whether it is the good or the evil one. I think it's great when a story has such unsavory characters. I love anti-heroes, which are complex and have human weaknesses.
Is it true that you want to produce a movie about Steve McQueen?

Yes, that is right. Steve McQueen is a Hollywood icon. He is an incredibly multi-layered character, a very confident man but at the same time so insecure. For every good quality he has, you find a bad one that stands in contrast to it. He's a really interesting person. It is just very difficult to make a good screenplay out of this complex life.

Would you like to play him?

Yes, that would be an honor for me.

You play the superhero Hawkeye in "The Avengers", that is also an iconic character. What did you like about that figure?

ďThe AvengersĒ was the first real big movie I signed up for. I didn't play that character because he is a super hero but because he is first of all a human being. He cannot fly and has no strange superpowers; he is only a man with distinctive abilities. So I can identify myself with him. My question was actually if I have to run around in tight purple pants. I do not think I'd look good in it. Not that I would know ... [laughs]. Then they showed me how the outfit should look and I thought it was good. In addition to that I knew the whole world would see that movie and that was an opportunity I did not want to miss.

You write down your experiences every year to see what you could do better the next time. What did you learn about yourself from that? 

It changes from year to year. What I really want every time is to spend more time with my family, but I really have to work a lot. When I started writing everything down ten or eleven years ago, I realized that I had to change a lot of things. But the things that I've learned lately about myself are not really so fundamental anymore.

Your last name sounds German. Do you have German roots?

RENNER: Yes, my grandfather came from Germany. But I do not know where he's from exactly. He immigrated to America when he was young.

Available on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D & DVD 12th of June 2013



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