Robert Zemeckis Confirms Setting of 'The Witches' Remake

As children's books go, Roald Dahl's The Witches is a pretty dark one and it sounds like director Robert Zemeckis is planning to take that darkness and run with it, albeit in a slightly different location than what audiences might expect.

In a recent interview with the French site Allocine (via The Playlist), Zemeckis revealed that he is shifting the location from England and Norway as it is in the book to the Gothic South for a story with a "sociological spin".

"We're going to set it in the Gothic South in the 1960s," Zemeckis said. "It's an exciting way to put a sociological spin on this kind of witch story."

For those who are perhaps unfamiliar, The Witches is a 1983 children's fantasy novel from British writer Roald Dahl which follows the story of a young British boy and his Norwegian grandmother -- who happens to be retired witch hunter -- come across a coven of child-hating witches and find themselves having to stop the powerful Grand High Witch from a nefarious plot. In 1990 the book was adapted into film by director Nicolas Roeg.

That film, which was produced by The Jim Henson Company and was the last one that Jim Henson personally worked on prior to his death, centered on a child who encounters a real world of witchcraft hidden plain sight. The plot of the film involved witches who pretend to be everyday women, so that they can kidnap and kill children. In the story, they are thwarted by a child they had turned into a mouse and his grandmother. At the end, the implication is that our heroes will have to journey out into the wider world and begin defeating witches beyond just the ones in England. Since there was no sequel, that plot thread was never picked up on. It's worth noting that Dahl was himself not a fan of the film and called it "utterly appalling".

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Zemeckis' comment to Allocine somewhat raises some questions about where exactly the director will take his adaptation of the story. It was previously believed that Zemeckis's adaptation would be more faithful to the source material than Roeg's. It had also been previously reported that The Dark Knight Rises actress Anne Hathaway had been offered a role in the upcoming adaptation, though Zemeckis told the French outlet that while casting is underway, no choices have been made as to who will play the film's main characters.

What do you think about this latest update on Zemeckis' adaptation of The Witches? Let us know in the comments below.