It's finally happened. Disney announced that it was remaking Hocus Pocus, one of the greatest Halloween movies of all time... as a TV movie and without the original cast. Millennials everywhere balked at the news and understandably so.
Hocus Pocus is a film so many of us hold near and dear that it seems like an utter travesty to see it remade during our lifetimes. Absolutely nothing can live up to the magic of the original Sanderson Sisters and the mystery of which virgin in Salem would light the Black Flame Candle.
Rumors of a sequel have been floating around for years with all the original cast seemingly down to reprise their roles. But any hope of that happening now seems completely squashed. Now that it's clear a sequel won't happen, we're left to grieve the possibilities and forever revel in the classic and campy performances bestowed upon us by the lovely Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy.
Despite our sadness and even fury over this remake, it’s possible that all is not lost. After all, there’s a slew of talented actors making waves in Hollywood now who could breathe new life into our favorite Hocus Pocus characters.
Here's Who Should Star In The Hocus Pocus Remake.
16 Kelvin Harrison Jr - Max
Max is easily the most important character in Hocus Pocus. He’s on the cusp of maturity yet still enough of a kid to be the catalyst for every bit of mischief he and his group get themselves into. The role, which was originally played by Omri Katz, requires a talent that’s up for that challenge. Kelvin Harrison Jr. fits the bill quite nicely.
Most recently seen in The Birth of a Nation, Roots, and It Comes at Night, Harrison is no stranger to taking on challenging roles. Though only in his early twenties, Harrison’s got more than enough experience to nail this role completely. He’s played teens in distress before, plus he possesses the perfect combination of acting skill, off-screen charm, and dastardly good looks to do the character justice.
15 Millie Davis - Dani
Remember precocious little Dani, who taunted her brother from the sidelines and threw tantrums over Halloween candy? She was the perfect little sister— always several steps ahead of the game and able to call her brother Max out on his nonsense. It’s not easy to replicate that kind of fun banter and volatility on screen, but actress Millie Davis has more than enough moxie to give audiences a laugh or two.
Davis, who recently starred alongside Jacob Tremblay in Wonder, has everything audiences could want in a modern-day Dani. In all her roles to date, she’s been absolutely adorable and fun to watch. She’s also got the smarts to give Dani the same edge she had when Thora Birch originally stepped into her shoes.
All in all, a great casting choice for this fun role. Let’s hope Hollywood pays attention!
14 Isabella Gomez - Allison
So much of the original Hocus Pocus revolved around Allison, Max’s undying love for her and her incredible knowledge of the Sanderson Sisters’ history. She educates Max, Dani, and the audience about Salem’s haunted past and shows us all just what these kids are up against. So, who else would we choose for this role besides the versatile Isabella Gomez?
Gomez offers up the perfect mix of fun, mischief and enthusiasm to play Allison to a T. Earlier this year, Gomez became a name and face to remember for her work as Elena on Netflix’s smash hit One Day at a Time.
Given her passion for her craft and her aptitude for playing intelligent characters, Gomez would certainly bring something brand new to the witch’s table.
13 Kristen Bell - Sarah Sanderson
Way back in 1993, Sarah Jessica Parker seduced us all as Sarah Sanderson. The character may have been little bit light in brains but when that was coupled with her good looks and killer singing voice, she was incredibly endearing... and dare we say lovable?
Few actresses today have what it takes to harness all those lovable qualities and create an all-new version of Sarah that’s completely worthwhile. But if we had to place our bets, we’d definitely put them on Kristen Bell. She’s a great actor, a great singer, and she's got that adorkable thing really going for her!
There’s no doubt she would be a perfect addition to this little TV movie that we're all pinning our childhood hopes and dreams on. No pressure, Kristen!
12 Tatyana Ali - Sarah Sanderson
We all remember Tatyana Ali as Ashley Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But now she's all grown up and has shown the world that she’s so much more than Will Smith’s cute little cousin. Over the years, she’s come into her own as an artist, venturing into film, music, and, of course, television. Not only does she have the acting chops to give the role of Sarah Sanderson a go, but she's also got the vocal ability to back it up.
To add to all that, she's got the beauty and sweet charm that makes Sarah such an irresistible character. Who wouldn't love to see Ali dig her teeth into this role and give us her own rendition of “Come Little Children”?
11 Merritt Wever - Mary Sanderson
Mary Sanderson was easily the funniest witch in the original Hocus Pocus. Despite her witchy status, Mary was generally good-natured and well-meaning, but she also struggled to articulate herself. All this made for great fun and a great character, especially since she was so often conceding to her evil-doing sister Winifred.
Kathy Najimy did such a beautiful job with Mary that it's difficult to think of someone suitable for the role. Cue in Merritt Wever, who showed us all on Emmy night a few years ago just how Mary-like she could be. Befuddled by her win, Wever was at a complete loss for words.
Strangely enough, this kind of humility and sense of wonderment is something that translates really well into Wever’s performances so she’d make a great Mary, for sure!
10 Gabrielle Union - Mary Sanderson
Whether fawning over candy or the delicious smell of children, the character of Mary Sanderson shows her charisma at every possible turn. And few actresses have as much charisma as Gabrielle Union.
Beloved for her roles in classics like Bring It On and 10 Things I Hate About You, Union is pretty much a household name. She’d be a really interesting choice for this fun, frenzied role. She would undoubtedly give Mary her own unique spin and lend a sympathetic face to an often misunderstood character.
Here’s a fun fact for you: Union is actually a great singer, so she’d be a great backup singer during that iconic “I Put A Spell On You” number. She could probably even take center stage if she wanted to.
9 Vera Farmiga - Winifred Sanderson
Look, no one will ever top Bette Midler as Winifred Sanderson. There’s just no denying that. But if we can’t have her back for this TV remake, why not have an equally skilled actress at the helm of this important role? Vera Farmiga would be perfect for Winnie. As so many of us have seen on Bates Motel, Farmiga is fantastic at teetering on the edge of hysterics as Winnie so often does in the original film.
Farmiga is no stranger to lending her talents to spooky tales. In addition to playing Norma Bates on Bates Motel, Farmiga has held The Conjuring films together quite nicely.
Having Farmiga take the broom in Hocus Pocus would undoubtedly feed the audience’s hunger for charm, wit and great acting. There’s no question that she’ll channel her inner Winnie and give us something wickedly juicy to bite into. Also, did you know she can carry a tune?
8 Anika Noni Rose - Winifred Sanderson
Should Vera Farmiga not be available to take on the role of Winnie, we’d love to see the beautiful Anika Noni Rose in the role. Best known for her work in Dreamgirls, Everything Everything, Roots, and The Prince and the Frog, Rose is someone audiences will immediately recognize and identify with.
Rose, who is an accomplished singer and talented actress, would be an ideal choice for the Winnie. She’s got a voice and a face to die for, plus she’s just so good at diving into a character. Let’s not forget how incredibly camp and theatrical Winifred can be!
Ultimately, the role needs someone who can bring a lot of dramatic edge to the table and if there’s anyone who can do that, it’s Rose.
7 Douglas Booth - Thackery Binx
Though Thackery Binx appears in human form only for a few scenes in the original Hocus Pocus, the character requires someone with enough skill to a) convey a gamut of emotions and b) successfully voice a black cat for the duration of the film.
Over the course of the film, Thackery goes through a lot— he loses his sister, is turned into a cat and must find a way to save Max and friends. So, an actor like Douglas Booth, who has the chops and heartthrob looks to make Thackery believable, would be a great choice.
If you’ve been on the movie scene in recent years, you’ve seen Booth somewhere. He starred alongside Miley Cyrus in 2011’s LOL, played Pip in an adaptation of Dickens’ Great Expectations, and fell in love with Hailey Steinfeld’s Juliet in Romeo & Juliet. With credits like these, he’s sure to give a role like Thackery Binx all he’s got.
6 Darby Camp - Emily Binx
Emily Binx may be but a supporting character in the original film, but the role is as important as any in the telling of this wicked tale. The film, after all, begins with Thackery’s quest to save her from the Sanderson sisters and it's because of her that we understand just how high the stakes are when the witches return 300 years later.
With all this in mind, it's important to cast an actress capable of tackling the material and of having a compelling presence on screen. And who better to do that than the adorable Darby Camp?
Camp has had a handful of interesting roles this year in shows like Big Little Lies, The Leftovers, and Grey’s Anatomy, so she’s more than capable of putting her own touches on Emily Binx.
5 Cheyenne Jackson - Billy Butcherson
What’s Hocus Pocus without the memorable Billy Butcherson? In the 1993 film, he had something of a Johnny Depp/Edward Scissorhands vibe, making him irresistible even in death. He may have been rotting six feet under for 300 years, but the Sandersons still wanted him. Clearly, he had that je ne sais quois you always hear about in the movies.
If there’s one actor who has that quality today— besides the original Billy, Doug Jones, who's having a busy year between Star Trek: Discovery and The Shape of Water— it’s most definitely Cheyenne Jackson. Spook and horror are familiar territories for Jackson; he’s played a number of interesting and irresistible characters on American Horror Story himself.
All that said, it pretty safe to say that Jackson can bring something truly horror-iffic to this mummified babe of a character.
4 Sherri Saum - Jenny (Mom)
If there’s anything you remember about the mom (whose name was apparently Jenny) in the original Hocus Pocus, it’s that she sported a killer Madonna costume— boob cones, slicked back hair, over the top makeup and all. We’re pretty sure Sherri Saum could do the same and bring some depth, tenderness and lots of love to the character!
For the past several years, Saum has been flexing her mommy muscles in real life and on The Fosters. She’s got great chemistry with her on screen kids and she gives off such a fun vibe that she’d be an impeccable choice to play Jenny in this new Hocus Pocus remake. We’d love to see her be a nosey but loving mom to Millie Davis and Kelvin Harrison Jr.
3 Adam Rodriguez - Dave (Dad)
The dad in Hocus Pocus, whose name was Dave, if you don’t recall, was such a dad that he was kind of embarrassing. Between his silly “dad” jokes and oddly attractive vampire costume, he was a much-needed source of comedic relief. Although he occupies few scenes throughout the film, he still plays a role in creating the fun and compassionate family dynamic we see on screen. Naturally, we’d love to see someone who could have great chemistry with Sherri Saum... which is where Adam Rodriguez comes in.
Easily recognizable from his roles on Jane the Virgin, Empire, and Criminal Minds, Rodriguez is one actor lots of parents will be familiar with - even if their kids aren’t. Not only is he a familiar face, but he’s great at playing easy-going characters and is the perfect “dad” age to take this role.
2 Joe Keery - Ernie "Ice"
As kids, we all hated Ernie a.k.a “Ice”. He bullied Dani, stole Max’s shoes, and made a complete fool of himself by the film’s end. For the remake, we’d love to see a modern-day spin on the big bad bully with Joe Keery front and center.
You know Joe Keery as playboy Steve Harrington from Stranger Things. In some ways, Hocus Pocus was kind of a precursor to Stranger Things: in both, you’ve got a bunch of kids running from monsters and certain death without any adult supervision. So, it won’t be too much of a stretch for Keery to step into this role.
1 Kiernan Shipka - Jay
Jay was the dumb-as-rocks sidekick who did just about anything Ernie asked. He was a strange mix between a biker dude and a beach bum even though he was smack dab in the middle of Massachusetts. All in all, the character was stitched together in some unusual ways.
In this new iteration of Hocus Pocus, it would be interesting to see Jay become something of a “mean girl” with Kiernan Shipka taking on the role.
TV audiences became familiar with Shipka when she appeared as Sally Draper in Mad Men and followed up that appearance with a role on Feud: Bette and Joan. Given her mean-spirited performance on Feud, it’s safe to say she’s got the mean girls thing down pat. We’d love to see what she’d do in a role like this!
Who would you cast in the Hocus Pocus remake? Let us know in the comments!
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