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The Witches: Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer and Stanley Tucci spill the beans on their characters for 2020 reboot

Be careful… these witches really don’t like children (Picture: DANIEL SMITH)

Just in time for Halloween comes Hollywood’s glitzy reimagining of The Witches, Roald Dahl’s dark tale of evil, child-hating crones plotting to turn all the world’s kids into mice – then exterminate them.

Anne Hathaway is The Grand High Witch

The Les Mis star took lessons from Ru Paul’s Drag Race to perfect her witchy entrance (Picture: DANIEL SMITH)

The Les Miserables and Dark Knight Rises actress spoke of her fears stepping into Anjelica Huston’s shoes as the murderous, secretly grotesque leader of the witches.

‘I make no secret of the fact I’m a huge fan of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, so I just tried to take every single thing I’ve ever learnt from that show and incorporate it into making a fabulous entrance.

‘I saw The Witches [the 1990 version, directed by Nic Roeg – the new one is directed by Robert ‘Back To The Future’ Zemeckis] as a child and Anjelica Huston gave one of the most memorable performances I’ve ever seen – it’s so perfectly pitched – it’s flawless.

Who remembers Anjelica Huston’s terrifying transformation as the Grand High Witch in the 1990 version? (Picture: WARNER BROS)

‘It wouldn’t make any sense to make this movie unless we were going in a completely different direction.

‘Whenever I got nervous, I’d remind myself that in the past 30 years there have been six Batmen, four Jokers, a lot of Spider-Men and I think three James Bonds. I just don’t think we have as much practice of two women playing the same part.’

Fave Roald Dahl book?

‘James And The Giant Peach. I love it because it makes me hungry! I first read it when I was about seven or eight and it really captures that funny time when you’ve left babyhood behind and you feel yourself stretching and changing. Also, even back then I wanted to travel and that peach sure got around!’

Octavia Spencer is Grandma

Oscar winner Octavia stars as Grandma (Picture: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

The three-time Oscar nominee instantly signed up to Dahl’s The Witches since it is co-written and produced by Guillermo del Toro, who directed her in The Shape Of Water.

‘In the original, the grandmother was not a woman of colour and neither was her grandson – the hero boy. I loved that Guillermo, [co-producer and Roma director] Alfonso Cuarón and [co-writer] Kenya Barris thought it would be fun to reimagine her as an African-American grandma from the South.

Swedish actress Mai Zetterling played the role in 1990, but Guillermo del Toro reimagined the role as an African American grandma from the Deep South (Picture: Warner Bros. Pictures/Entertainment Pictures)

‘I just thought about my own grandma to create this character. She’s fun but she’s also about tough love.

‘Since the majority of the time I would be acting with pretend mice, the other thing I did to get ready for the role was go out and buy a chew toy. It was this little bird and I would just walk around my hotel room talking to it.’

Fave Roald Dahl book?

‘Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. Because what kid doesn’t want to get a golden ticket to go and have the best candy in the world?’

Stanley Tucci is the hotel manager

Stanley Tucci (Picture: Daniel Smith)

The in-demand character actor took time off from his viral cocktail masterclasses to reunite with his Devil Wears Prada co-star Anne Hathaway. (He recommends we shake up a Dark And Stormy or a Pink Lady to sip with The Witches.)

‘I think Miranda Priestly [the terrifying fashionista played by Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada] is actually a lot scarier than The Grand High Witch because she was real.

‘I’m in Spain for six weeks making a TV show, which means I can’t get home to my family in England because of quarantine.

‘I will miss Halloween but as a parent of lots of children [five], to me Halloween is a nightmare. You are sending your children to strangers’ houses in the dark to get candy – nothing about that is good!

‘As a child, my father, who was an artist, would make us these elaborate costumes. One year he dressed me up as a pack of Camel cigarettes – it was really cool but can you imagine that today? He’d probably be arrested!’

Fave Roald Dahl book?

‘The BFG. I have read all Roald Dahl’s books to all my children. You never get tired of them. I absolutely love Danny, The Champion Of The World but The BFG is so much fun to read aloud.’


Credit: Source

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