Reimagining ‘The Craft’ for a new batch of aspiring witches

Reimagining ‘The Craft’ for a new batch of aspiring witches

LOS ANGELES — “The Craft” holds a special place in the hearts of older millennial and younger Gen-X women. With its alternative soundtrack and goth looks, the 1996 film starring Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Rachel True and Neve Campbell was a modest box office hit that became a sleepover staple and rite of passage for coven-curious teens.

Director Zoe Lister-Jones was one of them. She remembered watching it at a sleepover as a high school freshman in Brooklyn with a newly shaved head. So it wasn’t surprising when the horror maestros at Blumhouse, the shop behind everything from “Get Out” to “Happy Death Day,” called her two years ago to pitch a reimagining for a new generation.

“I tapped into the teenage girl who is still very much present inside of me and came up with a take and got the gig,” Lister-Jones said. “There is something pretty timeless about the experience of young women at such a crucial turning point in their lives and the sort of discoveries that they make at that time.”

Her version, “The Craft: Legacy” (on VOD Wednesday), has nods to the ’90s fashion and music, including an Alanis Morrissette song right off the bat, but it has been otherwise fully designed for Generation Z from its PG-13 rating and themes to its up-and-coming cast: Cailee Spaeny, Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone and Zoey Luna. And no, none of the four leads were born when the original came out and only one had seen it before (Adlon).

“When I was 14, everyone was obsessed with the ’90s,” said Adlon, 23. “We were watching ‘The Virgin Suicides’ and ‘The Craft’ and ‘Thirteen.’”

The others quickly became fans, though.

“I was like ‘Oh my God, this is the world I need to be in,’” Simone said. “I’m a weirdo too! Cast me!”

The first film dealt with hot-button topics from suicide and cutting to racism. But it also pitted the girls against one another in the end. Lister-Jones decided to go the opposite route.

“I really love seeing women villains in film and television, but I wanted this to be a story of women supporting each other and uplifting each other rather than turning on each other,” Lister-Jones said.

It was a sticking point for Adlon, too.

“I love the original, we all love the original, it’s a classic, but it’s not really the coven working together at the end. It’s them against each other,” Adlon said. “And I don’t think we ever need to see women tearing women down, especially now.”

Lister-Jones also decided that her version needed to have a trans character.

“It was just essential for me to have a trans witch,” she said. “I don’t think that there is a world where feminism can exist where trans narratives are not included.”

She worked with GLAAD to develop the character, who she also thought should be Latinix, and seek out candidates. Over 200 submitted and Luna, who was featured in a segment of HBO’s “15: A Quinceañera,” stood out.

“I grew up going to the local abandoned asylum and played the Ouija board,” Luna said. “I’ve always been a little witchy weirdo.”

The women all formed a coven-like bond with each other that continues to this day on a text chain. Spaeny and Adlon had already known each other for years (they met at both of their first red carpet appearances), but the four became fast friends on the shoot last year, getting groceries, doing yoga, having Luna read their astrology charts and exploring most of the occult shops in Toronto. They also all worshiped Lister-Jones, who made the set feel safe and collaborative.

“It felt like a no-brainer to pass this reimagining to a woman,” Spaeny said. “And she did such a good job of making sure so many of the heads of each department were women as well.”

Simone said it felt like, “working with your cooler big sister who has her life down pat. And I loved looking at Zoe’s outfits every single day on set.”

Lister-Jones can hardly believe that this time last year they were filming “The Craft: Legacy.” She finished the picture in quarantine, which, she said was “an interesting challenge” but now is excited that it’s finally going to be available to the world just before Halloween with an audience-friendly rating this time too.

“I want this film to reach as many people as possible. And (the rating) does really open our audience up to young people who I think could really use some hope at this moment in the world,” Lister-Jones said. “I hope that I just can instil some of that in them and also, you know, give them some Halloween plans.”

—-

Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said growing COVID-19 case numbers continue to be a concern in the province. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta announces 1,077 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

There are currently 14,052 active cases in the province

Carolina De La Torre, right, owner of Arepas Ranch in Calgary, poses for a photo with her husband in this undated handout photo. The Venezuelan woman who believes she was used as part of Jason Kenney's argument not to lockdown restaurants in the province remembers her encounter with the premier as a lot less dramatic than he suggested. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Carolina De La Torre *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘No crying’: Venezuelan refugee Kenney cited says interaction was less dramatic

EDMONTON — The Venezuelan woman who believes she was used as part… Continue reading

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani waves to the crowd in a public gathering at the city of Yazd, some 410 miles (680 kilometers) southeast of the capital Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. Iran has discovered a new oil field in the country’s south with over 50 billion barrels of crude oil, Rouhani said Sunday, a find that could boost the country’s proven reserves by a third as it struggles to sell energy abroad over U.S. sanctions. (Office of the Iranian Presidency via AP)
Iran nuclear scientist assassinated

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — An Iranian scientist that… Continue reading

Family members and friends wait to welcome home the crew aboard HMCS Ottawa following its four-month deployment to the Asia-Pacific region as it returns to CFB Esquimalt in British Columbia Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. Newly released documents are shedding light on the secret discussions between Canada's top diplomatic and defence officials around the Ottawa's passage through a sensitive strait near China last year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Top officials weighed Canadian warship’s passage through sensitive strait near China

OTTAWA — Newly released documents have shed light on the secret government… Continue reading

Willowbrook Shopping Centre is still expected to one of the most popular last-minute shopping destinations in Langley, as the countdown to Christmas continues. (Joti Grewal/Langley Advance Times)
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Black Friday, the one-day shopping bonanza known for its big bargains and… Continue reading

Actor Johnny Flynn portrays David Bowie in the film "Stardust" in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Elevation Pictures *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Stardust’ is a Bowie pic without his music but that was always the plan: director

TORONTO — Gabriel Range’s controversial David Bowie drama “Stardust” has angered fans… Continue reading

Canadian figure skating champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir come to Penticton Oct. 6 with the Rock the Rink tour. This will be the pair’s last tour as they have announced they are retiring from the world of competitive figure skating. (Contributed)
Ice-dancers Moir and Virtue among 114 Order of Canada inductees

OTTAWA — Champion ice-dancers Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue are among 114… Continue reading

Mahomes vs. Brady spices up Thanksgiving holiday week

Mahomes vs. Brady spices up Thanksgiving holiday week

Cowboys miss chance for NFC East lead with another home loss

Cowboys miss chance for NFC East lead with another home loss

Arsenal, Leicester, Hoffenheim advance in Europa League

Arsenal, Leicester, Hoffenheim advance in Europa League

Keegan Messing performs during the Men's Short program at the 2020 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. If the world figure skating championships do go ahead in a bubble in March in Sweden, there is a good chance Canada won't be there. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canada might not compete at world figure skating championships – if they happen

Canada might not compete at world figure skating championships - if they happen

A piece of hockey history is up for sale, with a rare Vancouver Millionaires sweater, seen in an undated handout photo, hitting the auction block. The cream and maroon wool cardigan is believed to have belonged to Hall of Fame goalie Hugh Lehman, who backstopped the Millionaires to a Pacific Coast Hockey Association championship in 1922-23. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Lelands Auction, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Hockey history up for sale as 97-year-old Vancouver Millionaires sweater hits auction

Hockey history up for sale as 97-year-old Vancouver Millionaires sweater hits auction

Canada’s Nembhard scores 11 points off the bench in Gonzaga debut

Canada’s Nembhard scores 11 points off the bench in Gonzaga debut

Most Read