With Halloween just around the corner we here with VIP Magazine HQ couldn’t be more excited to rewatch some of our favourite spooky classics. And we were even more excited to be able to watch a brand new flick in the shape of Hocus Pocus 2.
We even got to sit down with the cast of the Disney+ film to chat about bringing the Sanderson Sisters back to life three decades on. We chatted to Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy about reprising their roles as well as brand new cast members Whitney Peak, Lilia Buckingham and Belissa Escobedo about joining the iconic film.
Here’s what the fabulous witches had to say…
Bette congratulations on the film, did you think the day would finally come?
Bette: I didn’t until the day finally came. And then I realized, oh, we’re really gonna do this. This was kind of a dream come true, it really was. I mean, I’ve been, I don’t want to say, agitating but kind of like after I realized it was actually a phenomenon, I started asking people around my age and people like that, don’t you think they would be interested in a sequel? This was a long time ago. This was like 15 years ago, something like that. So here we are.
Kathy, why do you think Hocus Pocus has become such a classic?
Kathy: You know, I don’t think that anyone could ever decide that ahead of time or else everybody would make that kind of movie. I think you just make films and you go on to the next one. And however, the audience receives it is always a surprise. So I think there was something in this film, I think, like Wizard of Oz-ish, where the generation shows it to their kids and shows it to their kids and shows it to their kids.
Doug, you iconically play Billy Butcherson. Why do you think he’s a fan favourite?
Doug: Probably because I was a zombie before zombies were cool, you know, yeah, right. I just wanted to go back to sleep. That’s all I want, really. I don’t want to eat anything. I just want to be left alone, really. So I think goofy, floppy fun. And he kind of matches the energy and the floppiness and the fun and the overdone characters of the sisters.
Bette and Kathy, this movie is all about sisterhood. What does sisterhood mean for you?
Bette: Well, I think, you know, I think in this world, there’s so much going on in this world that we never really realised until maybe the last 25, 30 years, maybe 50 years, things have changed for women, but things have not changed fast enough for women. And I think these three characters are really in a strange and odd way that they’re really quite positive for women. First of all, they’re very funny, which women are not allowed to be are not supposed to be. And they’re intensely loyal to each other, even though their relationships are… It’s a very broad range of emotions that they live through. And, but I think in a funny way, their bond is very, very strong. So in any situation where women are together, a bond of friendship and sisterhood is really, really important. And then this movie sort of shores it up.
Kathy: And there’s very little hesitation in our ideas and the things that we’re going to do. We don’t sit and we’re like, this is what we have to get done. We’re gonna get it done, even if it’s eating children. [Laughs] Whatever it is that our mission is, there’s not a lot of second-guessing which I don’t think you see a lot.
Bette: No. No second guessing. So we’re very decisive. We’re a very decisive group which goes also goes to show that women can be decisive.
Okay, Lilia, Whitney and Belissa, Hocus Pocus is a cult classic, were you fans before?
Lilia: Oh yeah, it’s a cult classic. I had been a fan before, I love Halloween.
Belissa: Same! All my family and all my friends love it. We watched it every year since I can remember. It’s crazy.
Whitney: I didn’t grow up celebrating Halloween so I found it a lot later in life. But I was definitely a fan after I saw it.
Do you have any favourite memories from filming?
Lilia: Dance party, easy answer,
Belissa: We were so exhausted, it was like 3am. We could just hear Bette muttering something.
Lilia: She said, “Lilia get the speaker and play Hey Ya.” And it was Bette Midler so I did. And she was singing Hey Ya. It was really fun.
Belissa: You just saw Winifred Sanderson singing OutKast.
Did Bette, Sarah and Kathy give you any advice when filming?
Belissa: Not even with words, but just watching them perform, we learned so much. It was incredible. How they carried themselves on set.
Lilia: Kathy gave me some really great advice about school because I’m in college. And she thought it was really great that I was still in school while I was doing this. She gave me great advice on how to handle the industry while being in school. It was really great.
All three of you are coming into this beloved film series for the first time. Was there a lot of pressure on you?
Lilia: I didn’t think about it, I tried to avoid it. You are stepping into such big shoes. If I did get overwhelmed I just went to Belissa and Whitney and they were so good.
Whitney Peak: If you try to be something it just takes away from any authenticity you might have. It felt we had a real safe space to act.
What do you three admire most about each other?
Lilia: I think Whitney and Belissa are two of the most deserving people. You are incredibly hard workers and incredibly loyal to the people that you love. It’s lovely to be sitting beside the two of you.
Whitney: I admire that you are so unconditional about what you’re passionate about. You’re so confident and I love that.
Belissa: You’re just a light. I love how solid you are. We needed that.
Bette and Kathy shared their feelings on sisterhood. How special is it to be in a film where female friendships and sisterhood is at its core?
Whitney: It was really special because none of us were pitted against each other. There was no me versus you in this “coven”. We all wanted the same thing.
Belissa: It was pretty immediate too, were we all just clicked. We were a little team.
Lilia: It was really awesome. In movies, it’s so easy to pit women and young girls against each other. And it’s not nuanced. The script did a really good job at that. We were able to figure each other out so well.
Belissa: Sisterhood is really at the heart of the film. And we learned so much about each other, like don’t say hi to Whitney in the morning. [Laugh]
Whitney: I’m a sleepy girl!
Hocus Pocus and Hocus Pocus 2 are both available to stream on Disney+ now