by: Donna Whitehead
More good news on the UNTITLED HOCUS POCUS SEQUEL front: Tina Fey and her company Little Stranger will produce the project. When we broke news of the project’s details back in April, we knew that producers were aiming for two leading ladies in the vein of Fey and Melissa McCarthy; there’s no word yet on whether Fey will appear in front of the camera, but she’s getting in on the action behind it. Fey joins producer Allison Shearmur and execs Bryan Oh, and Stephen Meinen from Allison Shearmur Productions, and execs and Jessica Virtue and Tendo Nagenda from Disney.
The original “Hocus Pocus” focused on a teenage boy who finds himself the target of the three evil witches–the Sanderson sisters, played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy. The sequel will pick up years after the original, focusing on a housewife who is related to the Sanderson sisters, who teams up with a witch hunter to save her children after they run afoul of some resurrected witches while out trick-or-treating. No actors from the original film have been confirmed as returning for the sequel. In fact, no actors are yet attached to the project. My assumption is that producers are looking for a Fey type for the housewife and a McCarthy type for the witch hunter, but thinking about Fey and McCarthy’s previous work, those roles could easily be reversed.
Fey is best known for her work as the star and showrunner of the NBC comedy “30 Rock,” and prior to that, for her time as a writer and beloved Weekend Update anchor on “Saturday Night Live.” Shearmur, meanwhile, was a producer on “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” and will produce Kenneth Brannagh’s upcoming live-action “Cinderella.”
We’re still a long way from seeing a “Hocus Pocus” sequel on our screens, but Fey’s involvement is a good sign on both a creative and executive level. Given that rumors of the sequel have been spreading and getting denied for years now, it’s good to see forward motion of any kind on the project. And behind the camera or in front of it, Fey is a charming and funny presence–and the original “Hocus Pocus” was pretty charming and funny, so the sequel needs to bring its A game if it wants to match it. It’s a good thing Fey is on hand to help.