This very ambitious, fifteen minute short film is a modern retelling of the classic fairytale of Hansel and Gretel. In this story the father’s culpability is brought into sharp focus in contrast to the original where he is painted as the hapless victim (even as he colludes in the murder of his own children). Through the guise of a simple, well known fairytale this film seeks to challenge issues of family breakdown, gender stereotyping and grooming.
Made by a multi-award winning young director, the production values on this film are going to be of a very high standard and is being shot in 4K.
The finished film will be doing the rounds at all the major festivals. A nominal fee of £55 per day will be paid to the actors as well as travel and accommodation (if required) and so forth.
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Jenny (playing age 23)
Jenny is the “evil stepmother”, who isn’t actually all that evil at all. She is the new girlfriend of Harry and Grace’s father, Craig. When the children go missing, she is the ready scapegoat for this deadbeat dad, although it is clear she had no part in the mishap.
Jenny is young, successful and out of Craig’s league – he is clearly punching above his weight. At the beginning of the film, when Jenny is trying to cool her relationship with him, he drops everything, including responsibility for caring for his children to impress her. She has drifted into a relationship with Craig – maybe due to his persistence, but he is clearly not “the one”.
As the film progresses Jenny starts to more clearly see what kind of man Craig is – a self serving sleaze ball who can’t even do the right thing by his children. Unlike in the original version of the fairytale, this “evil” stepmother is completely blameless.
Susan (playing age 35-43)
Susan is a strong, independent single mother. Her ex is a flakey dad at best and she is in the difficult position of having to do the right thing as regards enabling and encouraging her children to have a good relationship with their father, whilst knowing that he is a selfish, arrogant pig who often lets them down. Susan is a great mother though and puts her own feelings aside to support her children’s fragile relationship with their father.
When her children go missing, Susan is distraught. One of Susan’s scenes is very emotional and the audience needs to believe that she has been crying and going out of her mind for hours at the point we see her.
Male Newsreader (playing age 40-60)
When the two children go missing, the event is covered on the news. Although this is a small role, it has to be believable. The newsreader is a handsome, highly polished, non-caucasian man with an air of authority.
Merryn (playing age 22-25)
Merryn is best friend’s with Jenny and they share an apartment together. We only see Merryn once but the late night conversation she has with Jenny is one of the most pivotal in the film. She is a feisty and fearless plain speaker who just tells it like it is. Whilst Jenny looks for ways to blame herself for the children’s disappearance, Merryn with more objectivity lays the blame firmly where it belongs.
Miranda (playing age 35-45) – Lead
Miranda is an attractive, friendly looking and approachable lady. There is something maternal in her countenance. She has a face you can trust.
Miranda would have been called “The Witch” in the original fairytale. She isn’t the ugly old witch of fairytales though – she is a lovely, pretty, approachable lady, that seems above suspicion. She’s the kind of woman that a child that finds themselves lost in the supermarket would look to for help and she isn’t what she seems.
Alongside the two children playing Harry and Grace, the part of Miranda is the lead for this film and as such it will live or die on this performance. It is a very tricky part as this character still has to be charming and likable, even as we dislike some of her actions.
Miranda is a stand in for the friendly adult who steps in when children are vulnerable and seems to be a safe haven. Really she is a predator, looking to exploit them. In a world where “stranger danger” looms large, the real danger of the nice person already known to you is overlooked. In a twist, it is a female character playing the predator. The grooming storyline, whilst I hope is clear, is also subtle and implied. There is nothing explicit in either word or action.