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Robert Zemeckis' adaptation of Roald Dahl's novel The Witches will differ slightly from the source material, being set in the Gothic South and focusing on sociological issues. Though there is very little in the way of details surrounding the film, Zemeckis has some ideas up his sleeve to not only differentiate his film from the original novel, but from the 1990 adaptation from the late director Nicolas Roeg as well.
In The Witches, a retired witch hunter and her grandson happen upon a coven of witches while vacationing at a luxury hotel in England. Well aware of the dangers these witches possess, the duo hatches a plan to not only stop the witches from carrying out their murderous plan, but defeat every last one of them. With the Grand High Witch pulling the reins, however, stopping them won't be nearly as easy as they might hope. Now, Zemeckis is helming his very own adaptation - only his version will take some creative liberties with the setting and social themes.
According to The Playlist (via: French outlet Allocine), Zemeckis will set his adaptation of The Witches in the "Gothic South in the 1960s," putting a "sociological spin" on the story. And, though he did not elaborate any more on what other elements he plans on incorporating into the film, Zemeckis added that he and the film's creative term are in the middle of casting - though he didn't mention who they might have in mind for certain characters.
Zemeckis had already addressed the fact that the film would be set in the South back in November - specifically in Alabama - but he hadn't addressed the gothic tone. And, though he hasn't given any updates on casting, he also noted that he plans on casting a young black actor, around 8 and 10 years old, in the lead role as the witch hunter's grandson. Zemeckis has also not specified whether the character will be named Luke, as is the case with the 1990 adaptation.
The fact that The Witches is being adapted again at all is a success in and of itself considering how long it's taken getting the project off the ground. Both Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón had originally planned on collaborating in 2008 for their own stop-motion adaptation Dahl's novel, but they have since shifted to the roles of executive producers. So, considering they're still involved, there is hope that this version of The Witches turns out to be a considerable success - even though Zemeckis hasn't fared particularly well with his latest film, Welcome to Marwen, with Steve Carrell.