Anne Hathaway will lead the cast in Robert Zemeckis' ambitious remake of The Witches for Warner Bros. Based on the beloved book by Roald Dahl, Hathaway will portray The Grand High Witch who isn't afraid to transform young children into mice if she is so inclined.
Based on Dahl's 1973 book of the same name, The Witches tells the tale of a young boy who recently lost his parents and is looked after by his loving grandmother. His fondness for her tales of witches takes on a whole new meaning when they have an encounter with a coven of witches (led by The Grand High Witch) who have an evil scheme to rid the country of all children.
The Witches was previously adapted for the big screen in 1990 with Anjelica Huston as The Grand High Witch, and Rowan Atkinson as the overly stern Hotel Manager. Seeing the original film as a youngster, the scene where all the witches remove their disguises was quite intense, but that's what I love about Dahl's work it never shies away from darkness. According to Variety, unlike the 1990 adaptation that wasn't truly faithful to the book "Zemeckis’ version will be more rooted in the original source material".
There is no questioning Zemeckis' status as a legend in the filmmaking industry. His Back To The Future trilogy is enough to add to the zeitgeist, but his contribution to cinema doesn't end with Marty McFly. Other offerings like Romancing The Stone, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump, Castaway and two sorely underrated films with What Lies Benneth, and Death Becomes Her, Zemeckis is a bonafide legend. However, his directorial projects for the last decade or so have been somewhat uneven.
A trilogy of oddly unnerving CGI animated films with The Polar Express, Beowulf, and A Christmas Carol, the Denzel Washington led Flight was a return to form (and live-action) garnering two Oscar nominations. The Walk received praise from critics but lost money at the box office, the wartime thriller Allied starring Brad Pitt also lost money, and his latest (Welcome To Marwen) is set to lose more than $60 million for Universal.
On a more positive note, there will be loads of new Roald Dahl adaptations coming our way thanks to a deal with Netflix to produce animated films, and TV shows based on Dahl's vast body of work. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, and The Twits have already been confirmed with more titles to be announced.