Hide your kids, the witches are coming for them…again. Variety reports that Anne Hathaway has closed a deal to star as the Grand High Witch in Robert Zemeckis‘ THE WITCHES adaptation. Hathaway will take over the role originated by Anjelica Huston in Nicolas Roeg‘s 1990 adaptation — a performance that scarred a generation of children (including my better half) with her embodiment of a grotesque child-hating witch.
Rumors of Hathaway’s involvement in the project have been going around for a few weeks, but Variety reports that the Oscar-winning actress is now officially on board. Now, those are some mighty big shoes to fill, but there’s no doubt Hathaway has the chops, and I’ve been dying to see her tap more into high camp ever since her deliciously weird read on the White Queen in ALICE IN WONDERLAND. We also got a little taste of it in last year’s OCEAN’S EIGHT, where Hathaway stole the show from a first-rate ensemble as the minxish Daphne Kluger.
Zemeckis will bring a new spin on Dahl’s fantasy classic by shaking up the setting of the source material. In a recent interview with French outlet Allocine, Zemeckis revealed his adaptation will be an American period piece. “We’re going to set it in the Gothic South in the 1960s. It’s an exciting way to put a sociological spin on this kind of witch story.” The BACK TO THE FUTURE and FORREST GUMP filmmaker will write and direct for Warner Bros. with Guillermo Del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron producing. Not too shabby.
THE WITCHES follows a young boy who goes to live with his grandmother following the death of his parents and learns the truth about witches before he has a run-in with a real-life coven, hell-bent on transforming children into mice en masse with the help of poisoned chocolates. Per the report, Zemeckis’ approach is “more rooted in the original source material” than the 1990s adaptation despite the new setting. Zemeckis could use a win after the misfire WELCOME TO MARWEN, which arrived in theaters with a thud at the end of 2018.
Hathaway has a big year ahead of her. The actress co-stars alongside Matthew McConaughey in SERENITY, which arrives in theaters this month. Next, she’ll be seen in the DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS re-imagining THE HUSTLE alongside Rebel Wilson, and Dee Rees‘ Netflix drama THE LAST THING HE WANTED.