Has the Black Flame been rekindled?
Yes, according to Disney and hundreds of Rhode Islanders who have posted about the production over the past few months.
The devious Sanderson sisters are back and the first images of the original cast — Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy — were released this week.
Globe Rhode Island will be watching for witchy signs as production for “Hocus Pocus 2″ continues in places like Benefit Street in Providence, and Chase Farm in Lincoln, R.I., where a Colonial-era town has sprouted up almost overnight. There have been sightings elsewhere.
If you have seen the production, let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, scroll down for hints and highlights of the movie making so far.
The latest: ‘Hocus Pocus 2′ filming gives Federal Hill businesses a boost
By Alexa Gagosz
PROVIDENCE — While Hollywood film crews were directing extras, dressing Bette Midler stunt doubles, and stretching yellow caution tape around a sprawling section of Atwells Avenue this past weekend, Italian markets and restaurants on the edge of the set in Federal Hill saw a carousel of customers.
Adriana Veader was behind the counter at Tony’s Colonial, a salumeria her grandparents have owned since 1969, where rows of fine cheeses and meats, herb-infused olive oils, pasta, and specialty packaged foods from Italy line the shelves. A part-time worker while earning her master’s in Boston, she said she hadn’t seen the store this busy in months.
“I’m just really hoping that while people are traveling here to get a glimpse of the movie, they discover us and become loyal customers,” she said as she helped her family members pour clear plastic cups with wine and froth milk for cappuccinos and pass them around to customers. “People here know who we are. But maybe it will help us reintroduce ourselves to the next generation of customers.” Read more.
What is ‘Hocus Pocus’ about?
🧙🏻 “Hocus Pocus” was released in July 16, 1993. It has since become a Halloween classic.
🧙🏻 It’s about a curious boy who struggles to fit in before awakening a trio of diabolical witches that had been executed in the 17th century, according to IMDb. The Sanderson sisters are resurrected when a cursed candle is lit by a virgin on Halloween during a full moon.
🧙🏻 It was originally filmed in Burbank, California. However, daytime parts of the movie were filmed for about two weeks in Salem, Massachusetts, known for the 1692 witch trials.
🧙🏻 The story was written by David Kirschner and Mick Garris, and directed by Kenny Ortega.
🧙🏻 The original was budgeted at $28 million and made $44 million at the box office.
🧙🏻 New production signs around Rhode Island have featured “Black Flame Fairy Dust Productions,” hinting the cursed candle may play a part in “Hocus Pocus 2.”
Why is ‘Hocus Pocus 2′ being filmed in Rhode Island instead of Salem, Massachusetts?
Luna Moon, a Halloween and horror buff from Salem, Massachusetts, recently visited all of the “Hocus Pocus 2″ sets in Rhode Island. She says Salem residents are “bent out of shape” that the quirky Halloween film isn’t returning to Salem.
After all, many credit the 1964-1972 supernatural sitcom “Bewitched” and “Hocus Pocus” for reviving Salem’s businesses.
Moon told the Globe her loves for Halloween and scary things came from her grandparents, with whom she watched black and white horror films. She said she found the characters inspiring and misunderstood.
“I like the creepy stuff; it was relatable to me,” Moon says. “On Halloween, you can be anything you want to be. There is magic in that. Even in those plastic costumes you can’t breathe in. I was an actor at haunted houses at ages 16 and 17. My first job was with Al Lewis who was Grandpa Munster.”
Moon said she kind of understands why that wouldn’t make a good filming environment. The event would have been a filming nightmare -- even scarier than the Sanderson sisters.
“We were really hoping the movie was going to film here,” Moon said. “We got the curveball at the last second that it was going to be in Rhode Island.”
“They are doing the best thing for the film. When ‘Hocus Pocus 2′ started filming, it started in October. (October is) like Magic Kingdom on a full capacity day in Salem. It’s wall-to-wall people. There would have been no way to film here. But in Rhode Island, you still have that gorgeous New England architecture and history — the Salem magic. It’s fun and we’re all looking really forward to seeing it.” Read more.
Where are the R.I. sets for ‘Hocus Pocus 2′?
Chase Farm, 667 Great Road, Lincoln, R.I.: A town has been set up in a field along a winding dirt road southeast of the Hearthside House Museum. It is located at 667 Great Road, Lincoln, Rhode Island.
Cranston Armory in Providence, 310 Cranston St., Providence, R.I.: A sound stage, forest and rig for flying stunts has been erected, according to Moon. She said she has heard there could be two major scenes that are difficult to film that will be produced there.
Newman Cemetery, Newman Avenue and Pawtucket Avenue, Rumford, R.I.: Zombie Billy Butcherson, played by Doug Jones, has been seen at filming at the cemetery, which was originally established in the 1640s. The gravestones are etched with funerary art.
Downtown Newport, R.I.: A fictional fair, the “27th Annual Salem Scarefest” has been staged. It includes booths named “Count Quackula,” “Sandy’s Candy Cauldron,” “Lifestyles of the Witch and the Famous,” and “Salem BOOtique.” A giant concert stage is a centerpiece.
A Pre-K teacher from Mass. used her precious half-day off to visit two ‘Hocus Pocus 2′ sets
PROVIDENCE — Kailey Paiva, 24, is a new fan of “Hocus Pocus,” having watched it for the first time just two years ago. But the a teacher from Framingham, Massachusetts, is so devoted to the film that she recently spent a precious half-day off visiting drove an hour to visit two “Hocus Pocus 2″ sets in Rhode Island. — Eisenhower Park in Newport and Chase Farm in Lincoln. She said she is a new fan of the movies she watched for the first time two years ago.
Paiva got a peek at the sets at Chase Farm in Lincoln, and took peak of a good look at the “27th Annual Salem Scarefest” movie set in Eisenhower Park in Newport, where the production crew seems to have they apparently staged a fake town fair.
In two videos Paiva posted on Twitter, you could see the silhouette of Bette Midler dressed as Winifred Sanderson, one of the movie’s wicked witches.
“We were able to see Bette Midler, and the three witches walked by at one point,” Paiva said. “It was the same scene they filmed a bunch of times. You could hear the three witches scream and everyone would walk down the pathway to the fair. The witches stopped at this ‘Bon Apetit’ little fair thing where there was a guy dressed as a skeleton, and they huddled around him.” Read more.
Ongoing casting calls for ‘Hocus Pocus 2′
New Englanders embracing the countdown to fall in all of its witchy glory have another thing to look forward to.
“Hocus Pocus 2″ isn’t slated to stream on Disney+ until fall 2022, the streaming service confirmed. But in the meantime, the movie’s casting company sent out a call looking for people from the region “to play various extra roles in the film.”
Filming will take place from October through December in Providence and in areas nearby, the casting company said. Read more.
Who is acting in ‘Hocus Pocus 2′? Disney reveals an expanded cast list
Just after Halloween, Disney revealed more details about the film, including a fuller cast list and teasers into what the new movie is all about.
In a timely Halloween post shared on Twitter, Disney unveiled 11 names that will join returning stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy in “Hocus Pocus 2.”
The confirmed cast members include Whitney Peak (“Gossip Girl”), Lilia Buckingham (“Crown Lake”), Belissa Escobedo (“Don’t Look Deeper”), Tony Hale (“Arrested Development,” “Veep”), Sam Richardson (“Veep”), Hannah Waddingham (“Ted Lasso,” “Sex Education”), Juju Brener (“Vanquish”), Froy Gutierrez (“Teen Wolf”), Taylor Henderson (“Earwig and the Witch”), Nina Kitchen, and Doug Jones, who played Billy Butcherson in the original “Hocus Pocus” and is returning for the sequel to reprise his role. . Read more.
‘Hocus Pocus 2′ to begin filming on Federal Hill on Dec. 10
PROVIDENCE — Keep your eye out on the streets and in the sky this weekend in Providence — you might just get a glimpse of one of the Sanderson sisters.
“Hocus Pocus 2″ will begin filming in Federal Hill on Friday afternoon through early Sunday morning, according to people with knowledge of the film’s production. And the Sanderson sisters — played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy — are expected to be on Atwells Avenue for some of the shoots and potentially “flying around on their broomsticks.” Read more.
Behind the scenes during the filming on Federal Hill in Providence
Globe Rhode Island’s Carlos Muñoz and Alexa Gagosz were on the scene at Federal Hill on Dec. 10 and 11, as filming for “Hocus Pocus 2″ began in a busy section of Providence. Here’s what they saw. Read more, and see photos and video.