Leonardo DiCaprio Was Almost in Hocus Pocus and Our Childhoods Are a Lie

Hocus Pocus will always be a Halloween classic, but there is one thing that could have changed it completely: Leonardo DiCaprio. The film’s director, Kenny Ortega, explained to Entertainment Weekly that the Oscar-winning actor, who was 19 at the time, was actually one of the first people to audition for the lead role of Max, aka the virgin who lights the black candle and wakes up the Sanderson sisters.

«The [casting] ladies called me up and they said, ‘We’re sending you an actor today but he’s not available but you’re going to fall in love with him but you can’t have him.’ I’m like, ‘Why are you teasing me?'» Ortega recalled. «They were like, ‘You need to see this guy because he’ll inspire you and if nothing else, he’ll help you find the right guy to play Max.’ And they send me in a young Leonardo DiCaprio, who I completely and absolutely fall in love with.»

While DiCaprio eventually turned down the role to star in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, the film that would earn him his first of many Oscar nominations, his audition did help Ortega find the perfect fit for Max. «Obviously, he left and incredible things happened for that young man and to this day, but meeting him awakened me to the kind of spirit and fun and sincerity that I was looking for in an actor,» Ortega said of DiCaprio’s audition. «When Omri Katz came around, I fell in love again and he was our Max.»

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13 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Hocus Pocus

‘Tis the season to be watching — and quotingHocus Pocus. Since the movie is celebrating 24 spooktacular years (see where the cast is now), we’ve put together a handful of fun facts about the movie that even die-hard fans might not know!

— Additional reporting by Shannon Vestal Robson

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Whoa, the First Draft of Hocus Pocus Was Basically a Horror Film

Now that we’ve all had a sufficient amount of time to process the fact that Hocus Pocus is getting an unnecessary remake, we have another fact about the beloved Halloween flick for you to chew on: the Hocus Pocus we know and love was almost a much, much darker movie. While sitting down with Entertainment Weekly, Mick Garris — who wrote the first draft of the movie’s script in the 1980s — revealed the original conceit for the story about the Sanderson sisters was called Halloween House and wasn’t nearly as family friendly.

«What I had written originally was about 12-year-olds,» he told EW. «The kids being younger and in more jeopardy was certainly something more explicitly frightening.» He further explained that the movie eventually became more «broadly comedic,» adding in scenes like the devil one with Garry and Penny Marshall. Poor Billy Butcherson, however, was always going to lose his head (as if those lips weren’t bad enough . . .).

What’s even more interesting is that the movie nearly had Stephen Spielberg attached as director because the Hollywood legend fell in love with the broad idea. «He loved it until he found out that Disney was already involved,» Garris said. «At that time, Disney and Amblin were very competitive in the family-film market, so neither of them wanted to be in business with the other.» Garris went on to write the first script, and after a few tweaks, the rest is Halloween history.

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This Hocus Pocus Star Channeled Thackery Binx the Cat and His Costume Is Purr-fect

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Halloween is still a few weeks away, but it just came early for Hocus Pocus fans! Over the weekend, Jason Marsden, who was the voice of Thackery Binx the cat, brought his character to life for his friend’s Hocus Pocus-themed birthday party. Luckily, the actor shared several photos of his costume on Instagram, and we must say, it’s purr-fect! «Last week, pal @Taraptak invited me to her #HocusPocus themed Bday party. I couldn’t resist . . .» he captioned the Instagram album. If Jason’s costume is making you want to watch Hocus Pocus for the 100th time, here are all the places you can catch the Halloween classic.

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26 Times You Quoted Hocus Pocus Without Even Knowing It

There are tons of scary movies for wimps out there, but Hocus Pocus is, without a doubt, the ultimate Halloween movie. It’s basically on TV 24/7 in the month of October (Freeform has that covered), and we’re not even mad. It’s funny, creepy, and surprisingly relatable. Here are 26 quotes from the movie that still apply to your everyday life, even 22 years after it was released. Check them out, and make sure you have everything you need for a great Halloween this year!

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Here Are All the Places You Can Watch Hocus Pocus Just in Time For Halloween

When we think of classic Halloween movies, Hocus Pocus immediately comes to mind. Even though the movie is 24 years old, many of us still love quoting it today. Most recently, Deadline announced that Disney Channel is rebooting Hocus Pocus as a TV movie, but luckily, you can watch the original as many times as you want starting now. Here are all the places you can catch the beloved Halloween film.

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Run For Your Lives, Virgins, Because Disney Channel Is Remaking Hocus Pocus

In «Things We Don’t Want, Don’t Need, and Didn’t Ask For» news, Deadline reports that the Disney Channel is rebooting Hocus Pocus as a TV movie. Yes, really.

The remake will be «a reimagining» of the beloved 1993 Halloween film starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, which has became a cult classic over the years. It’s reportedly in the early stages of development, with The Royals‘s Scarlett Lacey handling the script, while David Kirschner — a producer on the original film — will serve as executive producer. Kenny Ortega directed the original, and although he’s gone on to helm Disney Channel’s biggest franchises (High School Musical and Descendants), he’s currently not involved. The core cast of the first film is also out, since Disney is looking to revamp the story with an entirely new set of actors (womp, womp).

Anyone who is not a fan of the recent trend of reboots and revivals will no doubt be annoyed by the news, but talk of creating a new iteration of Hocus Pocus has actually been floating around for years. In fact, one of the film’s writers, Mick Garris, hinted to Forbes earlier this week that a TV project was in the works. «There have been rumors of a Hocus Pocus sequel for the last 10 years that will not die,» he said. «I have heard they are developing the script, I haven’t been involved in it but I think there will be a sequel it might be for Disney Channel or Freeform or ABC. I think it will be for television but I hear that it is moving ahead.»

Despite that, a sequel definitely does not have the seal of approval from the only person who truly matters: Winifred Sanderson. «After all these years and all the fan demand, I do believe I can stand and firmly say an unequivocal no,» Midler, who played the iconic witch, told fans during a Facebook chat in 2015. Luckily for any Hocus Pocus purists out there who agree with her, you’ll be able to watch a marathon of the flawless original on Freeform in October.

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17 People Who Are Not Here For the Hocus Pocus Remake — They Want a Damn Sequel!

Since the movie’s release in 1993, fans of Hocus Pocus have been waiting around for a sequel. When that didn’t end up happening, they moved on and continued to binge-watch the movie during the annual 13 Nights of Halloween. Now, Disney Channel is reportedly working on a televised «reimagining» of the original — and people are not pleased.

While some are excited about the possibility of a modern remake, others would rather Disney Channel just leave it alone. Sadly, the new iteration of the beloved film won’t include the original cast — so no Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, or Kathy Najimy — and that little detail has people feeling particularly, understandably pissed.

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Not to Sound Witchy, but a Modern Hocus Pocus Is a Recipe For Disaster

I want to start things off by saying: I’m not the sort of person who typically complains about «the good ol’ days» of movies. I didn’t understand the controversy about a new iteration of Ghostbusters, and I was excited about the sequel to Blade Runner before the overwhelmingly positive reviews began rolling in. I have no problem reprising, reimagining, and recasting classics — sometimes, it’s necessary to help beloved franchises appeal to new generations! But when I heard that Disney Channel plans to remake the 1993 Halloween masterpiece Hocus Pocus with a modern spin, I was one of many who reacted with some variation of «hard pass.»

Why, you ask? Well, aside from the obvious — there’s no way this version will be able to capture the ’90s-hot vibe of ghostly heartthrob Thackery Binx — there are several logistical points that make a «modern reimagining» of the original plot nearly impossible. These points might convince you that the remake is a big mistake . . . and Disney should just tap the original cast for a sequel instead.

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The Disney Channel Is Remaking “Hocus Pocus”


You would think that remaking what is arguably (to me at least) the best movie about witchcraft would be the sort of thing that would surely curse a person for life. But apparently someone at the Disney Channel isn’t afraid of a spooky black cat slipping into their office and spiking their latte with a little eye of newt. Deadline says that the Disney Channel has decided to remake the 1993 Halloween classic Hocus Pocus as a TV movie.

A Hocus Pocus sequel has been rumored to the in the works for years, but this isn’t the sequel we were all hoping for. According to Deadline, this “reimagining” of Hocus Pocus is happening because the film has achieved a bit of a cult status after repeat airings on the Disney Channel and Freeform. The remake will be written by Scarlett Lacey, who wrote several episodes of The Royals.

The Disney Channel’s remake will have an entirely new cast and Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker aren’t expected to be in it. That’s a mistake. Hocus Pocus is nothing without Bette chewing the scenery like she’s breaking in a new set of dentures, Kathy Najimy acting like a hungry squirrel trapped in a human’s body, and Sarah Jessica Parker slutting-it-up as much as that PG rating will allow. There’s also a talking cat, and a full two-minute-long performance of “I Put a Spell on You.” Not to mention  the fact that it’s a kids movie that features a triple hanging and a one-eyed spell book that looks like it was made from foreskins. Honestly, the original Hocus Pocus is perfect. It’s so perfect, it even provides the perfect picture of Bette Midler saying everything that needs to be said about this remake news in a single look.


Pics: Walt Disney Pictures


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