Warner Bros. and Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, and Cast Away director Robert Zemeckis' upcoming remake/ re-adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory author Roald Dahl's The Witches is coming our way soon. The much anticipated new version from producers Alfonso Cuarón (Roma), and Guillermo del Toro (Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark) has already snagged a cast including Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises) and Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water) and today we have word that the new movie will begin filming in Georgia, Alabama, and The United Kingdom next month. This production schedule makes sense as we already know the movie has a set release date of October 16, 2020.
Based on The BFG author Roald Dahl's 1973 novel of the same name, the story follows a young boy named Luke who inadvertently spies on a convention of witches while staying at a hotel in England with his grandmother, Helga. When The Grand High Witch and the other witches find that Luke has overheard their plans to turn all children into mice through a magical formula the witches test the recipe on him. Luke, the mouse, must now fight back against the witches with the help of his grandmother and the hotel manager, Mr. Stringer.
Anne Hathaway will be playing the Grand High Witch in this new Zemeckis version, while Octavia Spencer is taking on the role of one of the boys' grandmothers. And speaking of the boys that will battle the coven of wicked witches, the studio is currently courting newcomers Jahzir Bruno and Codie-Lei Eastick to come aboard the cast. If the two take on their respective roles, Bruno will play the grandson of Spencer's character, and Eastick would portray the other boy who runs into the titular Witches.
Warner Bros. has previously adapted the book in 1990 with Don't Look Now director Nicolas Roeg helming a screenplay that was written by Allan Scott based on Dahl's novel. Jim Henson, Mark Shivas, and Dusty Symonds produced, and that version starred Anjelica Huston as Miss Eva Ernst/Grand High Witch, Jasen Fisher as Luke Eveshim, and Mai Zetterling as Helga Eveshim. Joining that cast were the likes of Jane Horrocks as Miss Susan Irvine, Charlie Potter as Bruno Jenkins, Anne Lambton as Pamela aka The Woman in Black, Angelique Rockas as Henrietta, Annabel Brooks as Nicola Cuttle, Sukie Smith as Marlene, Bill Paterson as Herbert Jenkins, Brenda Blethyn as Rebecca Jenkins, and Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Stringer.
In addition to directing this new take on The Witches, Zemeckis will also co-write the screenplay along with Black-ish and Shaft screenwriter Kenya Barris, and produce alongside Jack Rapke, Alfonso Cuarón (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban, Children of Men), and Guillermo del Toro (Pans Labrynth, The Shape of Water). Roeg's 1990 version is said to be a loose adaptation of Dahl's book, but Zemeckis' version will be more rooted in the Dahl's source material. That said, Zemeckis and his team have already shifted the setting of their take to Alabama in the '60s. I guess we'll see just how close this new version sticks to the book elsewhere when the movie conjures itself into a theater near you on October 16, 2020. This updates comes to us via Geeks WorldWide.