Octavia Spencer (Ma, The Shape of Water, Hidden Figures, The Help) is joining Anne Hathaway in director Robert Zemeckis’ The Witches adaptation at Warner Bros. Pictures, according to Variety. Newcomers Jahzir Bruno and Codie-Lei Eastick are also in negotiations to join the cast.
The Witches tells the story of a brave young boy (Bruno) and his grandmother as they battle against child-hating witches. When he was a child himself, Roald Dahl used to spend every summer holiday with his family in Norway, where he was inspired by bedtime stories of witches and magic. It is said that the grandmother in The Witches was partially inspired by Roald’s own mother.
Spencer will play the grandmother of Bruno’s character, and Eastick is portraying the other boy who has a run in with the Witches.
The Witches, based on the 1983 novel by Roald Dahl, was previously turned into a 1990 movie with Anjelica Huston playing the Grand High Witch. That Jim Henson Productions movie was also released by Warner Bros.
Zemeckis is co-writing the script with Kenya Barris. Zemeckis will also produce with his partner Jack Rapke through their ImageMovers, along with Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro.
In 1983, the year it was published, The Witches won three awards: The New York Times Outstanding Books Award, The Federation of Children’s Book Groups Award, and The Whitbread Award.