'The Witches' Remake Finds Its Grand High Witch In Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway is joining The Witches remake cast as the Grand High Witch herself. Robert Zemeckis is helming the new take on the Roald Dahl children's book, which was previously adapted into a disgusting (in a good way) movie from director Nicolas Roeg. Zemeckis' film will allegedly take the story from the UK and set it in the American South.Variety is reporting that Anne Hathaway will play the Grand High Witch in Robert Zemeckis' The Witches remake. Anjelica Huston played the role in Nicolas Roeg's 1990 adaptation, but Zemeckis' take on the material is going to be considerably different. The filmmaker told French website Allocine, "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."

Here's the synopsis for Dahl's original novel:

Grandmamma loves to tell about witches. Real witches are the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth. There's nothing they hate so much as children, and they work all kinds of terrifying spells to get rid of them. Her grandson listens closely to Grandmamma's stories—but nothing can prepare him for the day he comes face-to-face with The Grand High Witch herself!

According to Omega Underground, Zemeckis wants to cast an African American lead to play the young boy at the center of the story. The film will follow a similar path as Dahl's novel, but in the new script, which Zemeckis co-wrote with Kenya Barris, the boy and his grandmother head to "swankiest resort in the South — only to realize that they've wandered right into a nest of witches, headed by the Grand High Witch, who intends to transform the world's children into mice — starting with the Boy."

I'm a big fan of Hathaway, and I'm so glad that people seem to have gotten over their strange, irrational dislike of her as an actress. She's very talented and never deserved such online scorn. The recent Ocean's 8 was also a nice reminder of how funny she can be, and I'm sure she'll be bringing some amount of humor to her role here.

The real wild card here is Zemeckis. Several years ago, I'd be excited about the prospect of Zemeckis tackling this material. But times have changed, and the filmmaker been turning in some rather shoddy work – his 2018 Welcome to Marwen was almost unwatchable. The last Zemeckis film I'd truly classify as "good" would be Cast Away, and that came out 19 years ago. That's not a great sign. But maybe The Witches will give him a chance to turn things around, and rekindle his old directorial skills.