The Sanderson sisters return once again to captivate a whole new generation of fans. mumbo-jumbo 2 uses the powers of nostalgia, camp and sentimentality to expand the story of the Halloween classic starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah-Jessica Parker as a trio of wacky witches. But what makes the original 1993 film a hit that draws more and more viewers in year after year? Midler has a theory.
“I think those three characters are really, in a weird and weird way, really, really positive for women,” she said at a recent press conference next door Hocus pocus 2 cast and crew. “First of all, they’re very funny, which women aren’t supposed to be, aren’t supposed to be. … It’s a very wide range of emotions that they are going through. But I think, weirdly, their bond is very, very strong. In any situation where women are together, a bond of friendship and sisterhood is really, really important. And then this film kind of supports it.”
“There’s very little hesitation about our ideas and the things we’re going to do,” Najimy added. “We think we have to do that. We’ll make it work even if it eats kids. [Laughs] Whatever our mission, there isn’t much doubt, which I don’t think you see often.
“No. No hesitation,” Midler agreed. “We’re very decisive. We’re a very decisive group, which also shows that women can be decisive.”
Doug Jones also returns for the sequel, reprising his role as friendly zombie Billy Butcherson. He also had some thoughts on why Billy has become a fan favorite over the years. “Probably because I was a zombie before zombies were cool,” he said. “[Billy] just wanted to go back to sleep. That’s all I want, really. I don’t want to eat anything. I really just want to be left alone. So I think goofy, floppy fun. And it kind of fits the sisters’ energy and slackness and fun and over-the-top personalities.”
Returning to character was initially a little more difficult for Jones, who has made a lucrative career playing physically challenging characters, often while covered in layers of prosthetic makeup. “I was 32 when I played against him for the first time. I was 61 when I played it the second time. Big difference. My first scene in the film was stumbling up a flight of stairs into a door. I’m like, [gasps]I can’t remember it being so exhausting before. … As I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, oh my god, two minutes has passed in the last 29 years. He came right back, voice and all. I don’t know how that happened. But it was kind of magical.”
The film also introduces several new characters to the town of Salem. Among them is Gilbert the Great, played by Sam Richardson, who runs a magic shop in the former Sanderson Cottage. Gilbert is a big fan of the Sanderson sisters, which is something Richardson and his character had in common. He was such a fan of the original mumbo-jumbo that he said yes to the project before even meeting with director Anne Fletcher.
“Actors never do that.” Fletcher remembered. “You always want to meet the director, talk to the director. And there he is in his costume on set and I’m like, ‘Nice to meet you. Hello, I’m so happy you’re doing this film.” And we met, both from Detroit. And we talk about this stuff and all that. And then I finally said why did you make this film without meeting me… aAnd he says, “Because I love mumbo-jumbo.'”
“That was addressed directly to me when the film came out,” Richardson added. “So I’ve been a fan of the movie since it hit theaters, you know? To be in the film as a fan of the film and to see these three and Doug as a fan in my eyes and as I watch myself are so many levels of beginnings. … My whole career was just a plan [Hocus Pocus]and I did.”
So if Hocus pocus 2 repeats the success of its predecessor, we can expect to see one Hocus pocus 3 sometime soon? Midler doesn’t rule that out. “I love a franchise,” she said.
Hocus pocus 2 now streaming exclusively on Disney+.
https://www.avclub.com/bette-midler-says-the-sanderson-sisters-are-actually-gr-1849600460 Bette Middler Kathy Najimy Doug Jones Hocus Pocus 2 Interview