Nicolas Winding Refn and John Hillcoat to Remake ‘Witchfinder General’

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Nicolas Winding Refn dropped some exciting news into the laps of eager fans at Cannes today, revealing that he has finally found a director for his long awaited remake of WITCHFINDER GENERAL. John Hillcoat (LAWLESS) has been tasked with the job of reimagining the cult classic, with a start eyed later this year.

A historical horror drama, the original WITCHFINDER GENERAL starred Vincent Price, Ian Ogilvy and Hilary Dwyer and was based on Ronald Bassett’s novel. Set in 1645 Norfolk, England, the film took the real-life events of witch hunter Matthew Hopkins and the atrocities he commited during the English Civil War, and fictionalized them for dramatic effect.

Matthew Reeves' original 1968 film is notoriously violent, filled with heinous acts of torture, so it will be interesting to see how much Refn and Hillcoat lean into that graphic brutality for their interpretation of the text. 

Penned by Jon Croker (WOMAN IN BLACK 2), Refn and Rupert Preston will produce the remake through their new production ventures and Sunrise Films. Hillcoat’s Blank Films will also produce. The filmmakers are out casting now.

Refn says, “For almost 20 years, Rupert Preston has not only been one of the main distributors of my films, he has also been one of my closest partners in entertainment. It is with extreme pleasure that both Rupert and I can incorporate John Hillcoat into our group as director for our production of Witchfinder General. It gives me enormous satisfaction to produce John’s vision and bring the retelling of this classic British film to a new audience.”

Hillcoat adds, “I am excited to work with fellow filmmaker Nic Refn, a maverick auteur and who, together with Rupert Preston, have been fully committed to independent cinema over the years. I’m drawn to the dynamic departures behind this remake. The idea of a world pushed to extremes where fear preys upon all, unleashing religious fanaticism, rival factions, tribalism, heretics, and witch hunts… feels strangely familiar in today’s world.”

Source: Deadline

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