Tommy Wirkola reworking 'Hansel' tale

Kevin Messick joins Gary Sanchez Prods., will produce pic

How do you follow the wicked joy of zombie Nazis attacking medical students on a ski vacation?

Tommy Wirkola has an idea: "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters."

The Norwegian co-writer/director of the horror comedy "Dead Snow," a Sundance midnight selection that IFC Films picked up for release in June, is putting together his next cockeyed picture. The ICM-repped Wirkola pitched Gary Sanchez Prods. on the idea of exploring how things played out for the poor siblings 15 years after that whole gingerbread house incident.

Simply put, they're now specialized bounty hunters looking to put down the cackling black-hat set.

Sanchez honchos Adam McKay and Will Ferrell jumped at the idea of bringing a "Shaun of the Dead"/"Evil Dead 2" comedy action vibe to the proceedings.

"The idea is, they've grown up and they hunt witches," McKay said. "It's a hybrid sort of old-timey feeling, yet there's pump-action shotguns. Modern technology but in an old style. We heard it and we were just like, 'That's a freakin' franchise! You could make three of those!' "

Producer Kevin Messick, who brought the project to the company, will make the film his first produced feature as an official new member of the Sanchez crew.

"Kevin Messick knows how to put together movies as well as how to make them," McKay said. "He's one of the best producers I have ever worked with, and the fact that he only asked for $8,000 a year shows his commitment to filmmaking."

McKay, Ferrell and Chris Henchy also will produce for Paramount.

Wirkola is currently working on the film's outline as McKay and Henchy finish their script for the next Sanchez project, "The B Team," an action comedy with McKay directing Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg for Sony. Paramount Vantage will release the Sanchez comedy "The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard," which Messick produced, in August.

At Paramount, Messick is also developing "Black Hole" with Plan B for director David Fincher and "One Shot," which Josh Olson is adapting.
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