Recasting Hocus Pocus If It Were Made Today

The 1993 box-office bomb Hocus Pocus has grown into a cult classic, championed by fans as one of the greatest Halloween movies of all time. It even received confirmation of a sequel, with the Sanderson sisters confirmed on board for Hocus Pocus 2.

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But what if instead of a sequel, the original movie was recast with an entirely new, more diverse crew. Remakes are often hit and miss, but one sure way to remake a classic is to freshen it up while staying true to form. Plus, it is fun to consider how it would be done differently, almost two decades later.

13 Thackery Binx: Jaeden Martell

Naturally, Thackery Binx is a character best performed by an actor with a full range of skills. They must be able to tell off a witch without balking but also make a 300-year-old cat sound elegant. The original version had Sean Murray as the physical Binx, and James Marsden as the voice of the cat Binx.

Jaeden Martell, previously known as Jaeden Lieberher, would be a solid choice for the role, with previous roles in films like IT (2017) and Knives Out (2018). His acting style is refined with an air of seriousness that makes everything he says important without being overly indulgent, which is kind of perfect for portraying a teenager doomed to be forever stuck in feline form. Not to mention, his voice is almost the perfect tone that you would imagine for a cat to speak with.

12 Emily Binx: Brooklynn Prince

Brooklynn Prince is an absolute gem of an actress in The Florida Project (2017), alongside Willem Dafoe. She plays six-year-old Moonee, a precocious child with a penchant for adventure, not unlike Emily Binx, who is happily led into the woods by the Sandersons, presumably under the guise of play.

Ultimately, the role of Emily Binx requires unbridled joy and naive excitement in the face of the witches’ tricks, and Prince has plenty of that to deliver.

11 Max Dennison: Caleb McLaughlin

Caleb McLaughlin is well known for his role as Lucas Sinclair on the Netflix series Stranger Things (2017). He plays a spunky teenager in an evil-fighting crew, so he is no stranger to fantasy and horror. His role also has a little sister who you see him grow closer to in the second season.

Max Dennison is not far off from Lucas Sinclair with his clever quips, determined attitude, and crush craze. McLaughlin is basically a no brainer for the role of a virgin who lights the black flame candle for no good reason.

10 Dani Dennison: Ariana Greenblatt

Ariana Greenblatt is an adorable and sassy young actress with an already impressive resume. She played young Gamore in Avengers: Infinity War, and has six productions releasing this between this year and next, including voice work in Boss Baby 2.

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With her vibrant personality and infinite charm, Greenblatt is a perfect fit for the role of adorably fearless young Dani Dennison. She certainly has what it takes to grab the lead while telling off bullies in a fabulous witch costume, complete with a feather boa.

9 Allison: Jenna Ortega

Jenna Ortega is a natural star with her breakout role as young Jane on Jane the Virgin (2014) and as Hailey Diaz on Disney’s Stuck in the Middle (2016). She also does voice work for Disney’s Elena of Avalor (2016) and Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous (2020).

Her vibrant personality and obvious talent make her an excellent candidate for the sweet and sensible Allison who captures Max’s heart without even trying. Give her an 18th-century Halloween costume and she will be sure to rock the role effortlessly while fighting off zombies and whacking witches with their own broomsticks.

8 Jenny Dennison: Maya Rudolph

Maya Rudolph is a long-standing queen of the comedy scene, having done numerous projects including her 20-year run on Saturday Night Live and her recent role in Hubie Halloween (2020).

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She brings joy to everything she touches and would be perfect for the quirky Mom who thinks her kid’s cries for help are the result of ‘too much candy.’ Rudolph would totally rock Jenny’s Madonna cone bra costume, complete with her amusing hypnotized sing-a-long to Winifred’s spell. She would bring a lot to the table and it’s a role just screaming for Rudolph to play it.

7 Dave Dennison: Kevin Hart

Like Rudolph, Kevin Hart is a huge name in the industry. He is notorious for his standup as only one of few comedians to sell out Madison Square Garden. He has also been featured in countless films, including the successful Jumanji (2017) remake.

Hart has played countless roles with success and is continually applauded as a fan favorite. He would bring charm to oblivious dad Dave Dennison, who hardly notices that his kid was just bullied for his shoes. Imagine Hart happily dancing along to “I Put A Spell On You,” while clad in a vampire costume – it’s comedy gold.

6 Jay: Maya Hawke

Maya Hawke is a natural star born to parents Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke. She is best known for her role as endlessly bored Robin Buckley on Stranger Things (2019).

As Buckley, Hawke is as sarcastic as she is clever and effortlessly takes over the screen with her ruthless antics. Her wit and charm make her an excellent candidate for a gender reversal of the classic bully, Jay. She already has the haircut and the sass, all she needs is a leather jacket and a sidekick.

5 Ernie ‘Ice’: Thomas Barbusca

Thomas Barbusca is an emerging actor, having worked in more than a dozen productions in the past decade, starting when he was just six years old. He has worked in several comedy series, including The Mick (2017) and Arrested Development (2019).

His personal style of acting is goofy and daring. Typically, he gets cast as a nerd who is often the butt of bullying. Perhaps it’s his ginger hair that gets him typecast because his personality is certainly the opposite and big enough to fill the boots of the neighborhood meathead bully. Can you imagine the word ICE shaved into the back of his ginger locks?

4 Sarah Sanderson: Halle Bailey

Halle Bailey is a remarkable young actress with several popular works already on her resume, including Let It Shine (2012) and Grown-ish (2018). Even more impressively, she is part of the music duo Chloe x Halle with her sister Chloe Bailey.

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Bailey has already redefined the remake scene by controversially securing the role of Ariel in Disney’s Little Mermaid remake. She is similarly perfect for the role of Sarah Sanderson, with her charm and bubbly personality. Plus, Bailey has an amazing voice to perfectly encapsulate Sarah’s enticing siren song that she uses to lure the local children.

3 Mary Sanderson: Chloe Bailey

Naturally, with two sisters who both sing and act so well, it only seems reasonable that they secure roles in a remake together. Halle Bailey’s real-life sister, Chloe, is slightly older and more refined than her younger sister, making her a natural fit for the equally quirky but slightly more diligent sister.

They have worked together on multiple projects, playing the role of sisters in Last Holiday (2006), and they also produced a music video together for A Wrinkle in Time (2018). It only makes sense to keep these sisters together, doing what they do best.

2 Winifred Sanderson: Da Vine Joy Randolph

Randolph has emerged in the past decade with multiple films and is quickly a rising star. She has shown the magnitude of her ability with her sass in High Fidelity (2020) and her charm in Dolemite Is My Name (2019).

She has the optimal energy to hold the room as the alpha witch sister. She also got her rise to stardom on Broadway in Ghost: The Musical, for which she was nominated for several awards, so she would take to the stage with ease as Winifred and absolutely stun the crowd with Winifred’s “I Put A Spell On You.”

1 Billy Butcherson: Doug Jones

Billy Butcherson Doug Jones Hocus Pocus

The unfortunate ex-lover of Winifred Sanderson, who found himself entangled in a love triangle with the youngest sister, has his mouth sewn shut so could not betray the witch’s secrets, even in death. Upon resurrection, he ends up fighting for the sisters until he ends up fighting against them in a lovely twist of revenge on their damning ways.

The original role was portrayed by Doug Jones, known for his role as Abe Sapien in Hell Boy (2008) and Amphibian Man in Shape of Water (2017). He has a thing for prosthetics and has even stated he would be happy to reprise the role of Billy Butcherson in a remake. So why change a good thing?

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Updated: November 13, 2020 — 1:00 am

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