What do you get when you take three of Hollywood’s most creative minds – Robert Zemeckis, Guillermo del Toro, and Kenya Barris – and set them loose on an adaptation of a Roald Dahl novel?
Answer: The Witches, Zemeckis’s upcoming take on the story of a boy who discovers a conference of witches staying at a hotel and is subsequently transformed into a mouse. The movie unveiled its first trailer earlier this month along with the surprising news that it will be debuting directly on HBO Max, and now stars Anne Hathaway and Stanley Tucci are here with a new video pointing out exactly how you can spot a witch in this version of the story.
The Witches Video
Learn How to Spot A Witch from the cast of #TheWitchesMovie! ???? Starring Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, and Stanley Tucci. Stream it on @hbomax October 22. Internationally in cinemas soon. pic.twitter.com/lT7RzNEjMZ
— Warner Bros. Pictures (@wbpictures) October 14, 2020
Despite all of the talent involved here (including a Devil Wears Prada reunion between Hathaway and Tucci), I can’t say that anything I’ve seen from this version of the story so far has me excited to check this out. I’m just not clicking with the tone, but maybe I should read Dahl’s book or see the 1990 adaptation starring Anjelica Huston before deciding once and for all if I should sit this one out.
In any case, here’s the official synopsis:
From Oscar-winning director Robert Zemeckis (“Forrest Gump”) comes the fantasy adventure “Roald Dahl’s The Witches.” The film stars Oscar winners Anne Hathaway (“Les Misérable,” “Ocean’s 8”) and Octavia Spencer (“The Help,” “The Shape of Water”), Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci (“The Hunger Games” films, “The Lovely Bones”), with Kristin Chenoweth (TV’s “Glee” and “BoJack Horseman”) and award-winning comedy legend Chris Rock. Newcomer Jahzir Kadeem Bruno (TV’s “Atlanta”) also stars, alongside Codie-Lei Eastick (“Holmes & Watson”).
Reimagining Dahl’s beloved story for a modern audience, Zemeckis’s visually innovative film tells the darkly humorous and heartwarming tale of a young orphaned boy (Bruno) who, in late 1967, goes to live with his loving Grandma (Spencer) in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis. As the boy and his grandmother encounter some deceptively glamorous but thoroughly diabolical witches, she wisely whisks our young hero away to an opulent seaside resort. Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world’s Grand High Witch (Hathaway) has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe—undercover—to carry out her nefarious plans.
Based on the book by Roald Dahl, the screenplay is by Robert Zemeckis & Kenya Barris (TV’s “black-ish,” “Shaft”) and Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water”). Zemeckis is also producing, alongside Jack Rapke, del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón and Luke Kelly. Serving as executive producers are Jacqueline Levine, Marianne Jenkins, Michael Siegel, Gideon Simeloff and Cate Adams.
Zemeckis’s behind-the-scenes team includes a roster of his frequent collaborators, including Oscar-nominated director of photography Don Burgess (“Forrest Gump”), production designer Gary Freeman, editors Jeremiah O’Driscoll and Ryan Chan, Oscar-nominated costume designer Joanna Johnston (“Allied,” “Lincoln”), and Oscar-nominated composer Alan Silvestri (“Polar Express,” “Forrest Gump”).
The Witches arrives on HBO Max on October 22, 2020.
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