'The Witches' Taps Anne Hathaway to Star As Grand High Witch

A new live-action adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved 1983 novel The Witches is on the way from director Robert Zemeckis, which has just added Anne Hathaway as the menacing Grand High Witch, as confirmed by Variety. Anjelica Huston played the character in the 1990 adaptation.

The story focuses on a seven-year-old boy who stumbles into the world of witches, uncovering their secrets and hoping to expose them to the rest of the world before being caught. Zemeckis has previously stated that the film will be a more accurate reflection of the source material than the 1990 loose adaptation.

"We're going to set it in the Gothic South in the 1960s," Zemeckis shared with the French site Allocine [H/T The Playlist]. "It's an exciting way to put a sociological spin on this kind of witch story."

The original novel leaned more heavily into the fantasy realm, as the protagonist's grandmother was a former witch hunter who imparted lessons about the supernatural beings upon him. While the previous theatrical adaptation wasn't a major success at the box office, it has developed a cult following over the years, thanks in large part to Huston's performance. Another standout element of that film was the various special effects makeups, specifically a meeting of witches depicting the characters removing various forms of disguises to display their true, horrific selves. In fact, it was the last film Jim Henson personally worked on before his passing.

Over at Deadline, the outlet added, "We also hear Viola Davis is circling the project as well.”

Zemeckis had originally confirmed the project last summer, though Guillermo del Toro had previously been attached to the adaptation.

Hathaway is best known to comic book audiences for her role as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises, as well as appearances in The Princess Diaries, Ocean's 8, Alice in Wonderland, and Les Misérables for which she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Fantine.

The actress has previously been rumored to join a number of high profile projects, including an adaptation of Sesame Street and a Barbie film. The holdup on confirming Hathaway's involvement in The Witches was a scheduling issue with Sesame Street, which has since been resolved. The actress has parted ways with the Barbie project, which has tapped Margot Robbie to star.

There is currently no word on when we can expect the project to debut.

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Stay tuned for details about this new adaptation of The Witches.

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