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Naar aanleiding van de home release van Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters hebben we een interview gehouden met de Franse Duitser Simon Boucherie. Hij was verantwoordelijk voor de wapens in de film. Het interview is overigens in het Engels…

Hello Simon, thank you for answering the following questions. You have worked as a props-master or set decorator on various films like Inglourious Basterds, Flight Plan and Cloud Atlas. But how and when did you become involved with Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters?
Beginning of December 2010 I`ve been asked to do the weapons and props for Hansel & Gretel. So I read the script and met Tommy Wirkola in the middle of that December in Berlin. From then on time was running! Between Christmas and New Years Eve I was sitting in my office at Studio Babelsberg and started with the first Designs for weapons, brooms and wands….

One of the kick-ass things in the movie are the really cool retro-futuristic steampunk weapons, in my opinion. Did you work closely with Tommy Wirkola on designing the weapons or did you have complete artistic freedom?
I have to say that working with Tommy was a really great experience for myself. He had some great Ideas especially for the weapons and we had a lot of fun during the design process. He gave me the chance to do some really weird stuff, like the double crossbow for Gretel or the foldable rifle for Ben.

Were the weapons finished before shooting? Did you have to make some adjustments during filming?
Oh my God, we did adjustments every single day….. See, when you`re doing an action movie with custom made and hand crafted weapons, you need like 10-15 different versions of one single Prop. For example Hansel`s shotgun: We built aprox. 12 rifles. One ‘Hero’ for loading and reloading, one ‘Back Up’, 5 out of foam and 5 out of rubber for the stunt scenes.
Also we built completely new weapons meanwhile the shoot because Tommy came along with some new scenes and new Ideas. So for example one day he came to me and asked me: “ Hey Man, you think you can make a foldable long range rifle?” So we did…

After all the delays, were you afraid that your weapons would have a lesser role?
No, I always knew that a movie about a couple who owe their money with killing witches all day long can`t work without weapons

Did you also do some set decoration or other things?
We purely worked on all the weapons and handprops. So apart from the “normal” weapons, we also built all the brooms and wands for the witches. Their evil weapons!

Did you also have contact with Jeremy Renner or Gemma Arterton? If yes, how where they, down to earth or real diva’s?
Absolutely nice chaps, we had a lot of fun with them. No diva`s at all……

You now know how I think about the weapons, but what were the reactions of other people? Positive or negative?
We had people on the set staring at the weapons and just shaking their heads: Either because they were absolutely thrilled or because they just couldn`t believe what this sick shit is about. But when we started to describe all the technical features they were really impressed.

How do you feel about being part of the dark but also fun fantasy fairy tale that is H&G:WH?
I think creating your own world is the biggest privilege on earth. Therefore I really love my job.
And there is, as always in life, this fascination of the dark, the other world. A world I never want to live in but being a part of it for a few months is absolutely fantastic!

They greenlight a sequel, do you already have been contacted for designing new weapons?
No comment (with a smile)

I took a quick look at IMDB but most, if not all, films you’ve worked on were filmed (partially) in Germany. No plans to move to Hollywood?
I adore the old world and especially good old Europe but you never know…..

Any new (horror/thriller) projects you are working on?
We just moved into our new workshops in Berlin. It was an old beer tavern and we turned it into our new headquarter. Now we are in negotiations for two new projects…. (Edit: Unfortunately he wasn’t allowed to talk about it.)

Once again thank you very much for this interview and good luck with your future film jobs

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