Miss you, Binx! It’s been 22 years since the debut of Hocus Pocus, and yet the Halloween classic still has a following that would have Billy Butcherson cheering from his grave. In anticipation for All Hallows’ Eve (grab the salt!), the cast revealed behind-the-scenes facts from the set with ABC News.
Some of the stars that threw back to the Salem, Mass., days (dance, dance, before you die!) include Thora Birch (Dani), Vinessa Shaw (Allison), Sean Murray (Thackery), and Doug Jones (Billy Butcherson). Hocus Pocus also starred Omri Katz (Max), and Bette Midler (Winifred), Sarah Jessica Parker (Sarah), and Kathy Najimy (Mary) as the Sanderson sisters.
Here’s five things we learned from the spook-tastic stars:
1. The Gang Was Thicker Than Thieves
Now 39 years old, Shaw says that the child actors — herself, Birch, and Katz — became really close while filming. “Oh my gosh, we loved each other,” she said. “Thora and I would sing a million songs and run around and be crazy on the Disney lot.” Jones added: “They were all very sweet kids. Thora, of course, was at the height of her fame. She was so affected by it all, she was very much a little kid.”
2. Binx, Be Gone!
In real life, Birch, now 33, was a bit put off while filming with Binx. “Dani was in love with the cat. For me, I had an issue whenever the cat came up,” the Now and Then actress explained. “There were a number of live cats, animatronic cats — the thing with the cat was a toss-up. You never knew what would happen.”
3. SJP Was the Best
Shaw — landing covers of Seventeen magazine at the time — received guidance from Parker (a former child star herself) on set. “She’s ask me if I really loved what I did as an actress,” she told ABC News. “She’s say, ‘It’s a wonderful job if you love it.’ So, she was just very sweet and curious and made me feel really comfortable.”
4. Hocus Pocus Forever
The cast still can’t believe the fandom. Jones marveled that fans brought the cast VHS tapes to sign when they reunited at Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif., in 2013. “To see someone in their mid-20’s walk up to you in tears to finally see someone from their childhood that they admired.”
5. Hello, Neighbor!
The movie filmed next to Tim Allen’s comedy Home Improvement. “The kids of Hocus Pocus and Home Improvement were on the lot and high-fiving each other,” Shaw recalled. “We hung out with Doug Jones and laughed with him and Sean Murray and we really just had the best time.”
Bonus! Murray’s daughter Caitlyn, 8, has yet to see the movie. “I’m actually, on Halloween, going to show my daughter Hocus Pocus for the first time,” he said.
Last week, Midler teased via Twitter that a sequel is on hold because producers can’t find a virgin. (In the original, Max — a high school virgin — brought the witches back by lighting a candle.)
Najimy quipped back: “Stop spreading bogus rumors @BetteMidler we both know @marcshaiman is a virgin @SJP @Disney see u @craftservice.”
Midler and Najimy may be stirring the pot, but Parker claims she hasn’t heard anything about a new movie. “It’s just on the World Wide Web,” the Sex and the City alum told Vulture on Wednesday. “We’ve all been exchanging funny, not-reality-based messages to one another. [That’s] as much as I know.”
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