Hollywood film studios, including The Walt Disney Company, are no strangers to reboots. The studio has been producing a string of sequels as well as a number of live-action films based on popular animated features, including “Beauty and the Beast” and the upcoming “The Little Mermaid.” Now, Disney is looking to reboot the “Witch Mountain” franchise.
It is being reported that Disney+ has ordered a pilot for “Witch Mountain,” a new version of the film series. The cast will include Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic World” franchise, “Rocketman”), Isabel Gravitt (“The Watcher”), and Levi Miller (“Streamline”). Bianca “b” Norwood and Jackson Kelly have also been cast as series regulars in the pilot for “Witch Mountain.” Norwood is known for her work on the series “We Crashed,” while Kelly has appeared in the show “Straight Man.”
This pilot is expected to be a modern retelling of the popular Disney franchise. The series follows two teenagers who discover they have strange abilities and come to realize that their seemingly idyllic suburban neighborhood is not what it appears to be.
Deadline states that “Gravitt’s Tia is a straight-A student who’s regarded by her classmates as “perfect,” although she regards herself as flawed. She’s terrified of failure and is plagued by nightmares and fears that her late father’s schizophrenia is starting to exhibit itself in her. Tia has “hallucinations” in which people around her step outside their living bodies and voice their deepest, darkest fears and desires and rages.
Miller plays Ben, a troubled teen who makes ends meet by writing papers for other students, but he’s got a hot temper, and if he slugs another student, he’ll be expelled. Ben is best friends with Corey, his co-worker at the diner. He’s recently made a troubling discovery about himself, he can force others in his vicinity to move according to his will, and there’s something drawing him inexplicably in the direction of Tia.
Howard stars as Audrey, Tia’s (Gravitt) devoted and loving mother. Her husband died from a mental illness, and she tries to reassure a fretful Tia that she shows no sign of following her father’s dark spiral. A warm mama bear type, but like everyone in this town, not everything is as it seems.
Norwood portrays Corey, Ben’s closest friend, an outsider with tattoos, Corey is a very mature teen who comes across as older than they are. They are one step away from expulsion and put more care into looking like a My Chemical Romance song that became an anime fan. Corey works at the local diner alongside Ben and is in his circle of trust, but doesn’t appreciate it when he tries to act as their protector.
Kelly is Peter, Tia’s closest male friend. Peter is lovesick on the subject of Tia, but she’s unaware of his charms, and equally unaware of his devotion. But when Tia expresses her concerns about the seemingly impossible happenings around them, she learns that Peter’s observant, cautious nature might be an asset in figuring out the mystery around them.”
According to Variety, Travis Fickett and Terry Matalas co-wrote the pilot for Witch Mountain and are serving as executive producers on the project. Augustine Frizzell will also serve as an executive producer and will direct the pilot. John Fox, John Davis of Davis Entertainment, and Gary Marsh will also executive produce the series, which is being produced by ABC Signature and Disney Branded Television.
“Witch Mountain” marks the latest collaboration between Disney and Bryce Dallas Howard, who has previously directed episodes of the Disney+ series “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett,” and starred in Disney films such as the live-action “Pete’s Dragon.” Howard is also attached to direct a reboot of “Flight of the Navigator” for Disney+, which would be her first time directing a scripted feature film.
The first “Witch Mountain” film was “Escape to Witch Mountain” in 1975 theatrical release. The film starred Eddie Albert, Ray Milland, Donald Pleasence, Kim Richards, and Ike Eisenmann. A 1978 sequel, “Return to Witch Mountain,” saw the return of Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann and also starred Bette Davis and Christopher Lee. “Beyond Witch Mountain” (1982) was a made-for-television movie with Eddie Albert returning, but not Richards or Eisenmann. A 1995 reboot of “Escape to Witch Mountain” saw Elisabeth Moss and Robert Vaughn starring in this ABC Television release. The last theatrical release was in 2009 with “Race to Witch Mountain,” starring Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, and Tom Everett Scott.
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