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Robert Zemeckis says his take on The Witches will be set in the Gothic South

Robert Zemeckis hasn't had a good year, what with his new movie WELCOME TO MARWEN being a box office disaster and labeled as one of the worst movies of the year. But still, the iconic director of BACK TO THE FUTURE and FOREST GUMP can bounce back, and he hopes to do it with his new spin on the Roald Dahl classic, THE WITCHES, which he recently revealed will switch up the location and setting.

Dahl was speaking with Allocine (via The Playlist) when he began talking about his plans for the new adaptation of the tale, which centers on a young boy and his witch-hunting grandma teaming up to take down a coven of evil witches posing as normal women. The original story takes place during the present day, but Zemeckis revealed he’s taking his version to the South during the 1960s.

"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."

Starring Anjelica Huston, the first adaptation from Nicolas Roeg in 1990 remains one of the best-reviewed children's fantasy movies ever, despite coming out to poor box office at the time. Made in partnership with the Jim Henson Company – the final project Henson worked on personally before his death – the movie is lauded for its makeup and prosthetic work, which no doubt terrified children (and adults) at the time.

With an idea firmly in place, Zemeckis said they are also in the process of casting, but they still have not found the actors who will be playing the key roles.

Zemeckis has demonstrated his fondness for elaborate, 3D visual effects in past years, but he has gone back into the realm of more traditional storytelling with movies like THE WALK and ALLIED. If he gets to make this movie is anyone’s guess, given how MARWEN hints that maybe the director isn’t as reliable as he once was. Perhaps with THE WITCHES he can ditch the expensive, digital effects and make a practical, freaky period fantasy-horror movie. Just leave the mo-cap alone this time, okay?

 

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