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The tagline on the original movie poster for Hanna was "adapt or die" – a no doubt daunting reference point for writer/director David Farr when working on his new television series that is a faithful reimagining of the action flick for Amazon Prime.
Although Farr was one of the screenwriters for the movie (based on a story by Seth Lochhead), he revealed Wednesday at the 2019 TCAs that he sought approval from original director Joe Wright (Pan, Atonement) before starting the project.
Wright gave him one strict bit of advice: "Just don't copy [the film]."
And in speaking with cast members Esme Creed-Miles (Hanna), Mireille Enos (Marissa), and director Sarah Adina Smith, it seems that their streaming version is indeed going to play out a little differently than Wright’s film, although it similarly tells the story of a girl raised in the remote woods of Eastern Europe, where she is trained to kill by her mercenary father Erik Heller (played by Joel Kinnaman).
Watch the full trailer here:
The big difference between film and series appears to be Enos' character, rogue CIA operative Marissa Wiegler, who was campily portrayed by Oscar winner Cate Blanchett in the film. Marissa is exactly the type of person Hanna (played in the movie by Saoirse Ronan) has been trained to protect herself from. But Enos says her take on the character will be less villainous.
"This version is not a fairy tale, and I’m not the wicked witch," Enos explained. "When Hanna comes out of the forest, she threatens to blow the lid off Marissa’s life. My hope is everyone would feel very sorry for Marissa," she said with a smile.
The first episode was made available on Amazon Prime for a 24-hour period following its Super Bowl commercial earlier this month – and the similarities with the movie were striking. However, Farr promises that when the show arrives on March 29 it will be taking a noticeably different route.
"I have the utmost respect for Joe's movie," Farr said. "We felt this should be about character and relationships, which is tailored for TV. Joe's film was a masterwork of style with the Chemical Brothers' soundtrack. We wanted to ground this more."
Creed-Miles, in her first major leading role, certainly appears to have gotten under the skin of the titular character. "Hanna has grown up in wilderness," she explained. "It highlights humanness and animal-ness in humans. She has an interesting take on gender and love. It was a fantastic opportunity to be as raw as possible and get rid of misogyny that we experience daily … I hope it's going to be a powerful thing."
The actress – whose real-life mother Samantha Morton is currently playing the new big bad Alpha on The Walking Dead – revealed that Hanna was a "physically demanding" role to get into, and one that required some extra fitness homework. "My dad [actor Charlie Creed-Miles] was training me at home. I was never a sporty kid. Then I discovered my physicality and running and endorphins," she said.
Her efforts certainly impressed director Sarah Adina Smith, who heaped praise on the young star. "She nailed it from the start. She has this visceral killer instinct," Smith enthused.
Fans of the U.S.-version of the Danish TV series The Killing will be pleased to see its stars Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos reunited again for this show – and Enos also revealed a little bit about their reunion.
"Working together on The Killing was a joyous experience. Like lightning in a bottle," she divulged. "[We] said in 10 years, let's do something completely different. To play enemies in this was great." Furthermore, Farr teased that the pair will come together for a "great scene" in Episode 4 of Hanna.
Hanna premieres March 29 on Amazon Prime Video.
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