Flight and Back to the Future’s Robert Zemeckis is currently in the final stages of negotiations with Warner Bros. to take the helm of the newest adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches.
Zemeckis would also pen the script, Guillermo del Toro had previously been in line to direct the film but had to step down due to scheduling conflicts. Del Toro will now produce alongside Alfonso Cuaron and Zemeckis’s ImageMovers partner, Jack Rapke.
Based on the 1973 novel, the film follows a seven-year-old boy who has a run in with real-life witches. Warner Bros. had previously adapted the book in 1990 with Anjelica Huston playing one of the title characters, but sources close to the project say Zemeckis’ version will be more rooted in the original source material, while the Huston pic was a loose adaptation.
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In Dahl’s 1983 novel, The story is set partly in Norway and partly in the United Kingdom, and features the experiences of a young British boy and his Norwegian grandmother in a world where child-hating evil witches secretly exist.
As well as the 1990 movie, the book has also previously been adapted into an unabridged audio reading by Lynn Redgrave, a stage play and a two-part radio dramatisation for the BBC and an opera by Marcus Paus and Ole Paus.
The newest version of The Witches could see Zemeckis return to his family-friendly roots after Back to the Future won the hearts of audiences. He since went on to work on Who Framed Roger Rabbit as well as going down the more dramatic root with Denzel Washington’s Flight and Allied.