'Hocus Pocus 2' stars say original cast member Thora Birch nearly made cameo as a teacher
- "Hocus Pocus 2" stars said Thora Birch almost played a role in the sequel.
- Birch starred in the first movie as Dani, one of the children who try to stop the witches.
"Hocus Pocus" actor Thora Birch nearly appeared as a schoolteacher in the sequel movie, according to stars of the Disney sequel.
Birch appeared in the 1993 cult hit movie as Dani Sanderson, the youngest of the three children who try and succeed in stopping a coven of newly-resurrected witches, called the Sanderson sisters, from taking over their town of Salem.
While several actors from the original movie appeared in the sequel, which premiered on Disney+ last week, Birch was not among them.
During a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Belissa Escobedo, who stars in "Hocus Pocus 2," said that Birch was almost cast as a schoolteacher in the sequel.
"We almost had Thora Birch," Escobedo said. "I remember talking to Anne [Fletcher, the director] about it being a thing where she was our teacher, and we went to her for help."
Escobedo added that in the original version of the script, Gilbert (Sam Richardson), a new character who runs a magic shop in the Sanderson sisters' old house, wasn't part of the story. Instead, the mentor role would have been played by Birch, according to Escobedo's costar Lilia Buckingham.
Earlier this year, EW reported that Birch was approached to play an adult version of Dani but had to back out due to scheduling conflicts with Netflix's "Wednesday" series, which she didn't end up starring in.
Birch told Entertainment Tonight that she was "a little dismayed I wasn't able to make it."
"I was working on something else when they were filming," the 40-year-old actor said ahead of the sequel's premiere. "Otherwise I was definitely going to be there on set with the girls. I can't wait to see what they do with it. I know they're taking a completely different, fresh approach, so I'm excited."
In the sequel, the Sanderson sisters return to cause more mayhem in Salem. They are played by original actors Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Doug Jones also returns for the sequel as Billy Butcherson, a zombie resurrected by the witches who turns against them in the first movie.
However, none of the child actors who played the protagonists Max (Omri Katz), Dani (Birch), and Allison (Vinessa Shaw), make an appearance in the sequel.
Fletcher told Entertainment Weekly that she found it "very difficult" to bring all the original actors back.
"We wanted to weave in all of the people that the fans loved, and when you sat back with all the ingredients and story, you're like, 'How do we make this work?'" Fletcher said. "People would say, 'They could be in the background!' And I'm like, really? You're going to put the leads of the first movie in the background and be satisfied? You're not going to be satisfied, you're going to be angry."
"Hocus Pocus 2" is available on Disney+.
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