Production has wrapped on Robert Zemeckis' live-action adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved 1983 novel The Witches and while it's been noted for a while now that the film will be a different than the cult-classic 1990 adaptation starring Angelica Houston, there's now a new synopsis giving fans a bit more insight into just how different the upcoming The Witches will be.
As reported by Bloody Disgusting, described as "visually innovative", the Anne Hathaway-starring "The Witches tells the darkly humorous and heartwarming tale of a young orphaned boy (Jahzir Kadeem Bruno) who, in late 1967, goes to live with his loving Grandma (Octavia Spencer) in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis. The boy and his grandmother come across some deceptively glamorous but thoroughly diabolical witches, so Grandma wisely whisks our young hero away to an opulent seaside resort. Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world's Grand High Witch (Hathaway) has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe -- undercover -- to carry out her nefarious plans."
This updated description sounds very similar to the general plot of Dahl's book, lining up a bit with previous reports that Zemeckis' adaptation would be more faithful to the source material. In that children's fantasy novel, a young British boy and his Norwegian grandmother -- who happens to be a 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. Leaning closer to the source material is something that many fans are looking forward to, as the 1990 film, directed by Nicolas Roeg and produced by The Jim Henson Company (the last film that Jim Henson personally worked on prior to his death). That film had a "happier" ending than the darker conclusion of the book.
It's expected the rebooted The Witches will be very different from the 1990 film in other ways as well. Hathaway told Variety earlier this year that only the story will be familiar between the two films.
"I think the stories will be the only thing that is familiar," Hathaway said. "I think everything else is totally from the mind of Robert Zemeckis and I'm really excited."
The Witches is set to open in theaters October 16, 2020.