You’ll likely have seen, and possibly enjoyed Nicholas Roeg’s 1990 version of The Witches, which saw Anjelica Huston slapping on the crone make-up to play the leader of a group of evil types out to rid England of all children. A young hero foils their dastardly plot – and that’s despite them changing him into a mouse.
But while it’s considered a decent, if unspectacular Dahl adaptation, one person feels he can do a better job. And since that person is Guillermo del Toro, he’s one of the few people who might actually have a valid claim. “I liked a lot of the Roeg film, but I really, really disliked that the ending was changed, because I think the essence of the Dahl story is that the kid remains a mouse," del Toro told Scifi.com. "Having said that, how the hell do I know that they won't change it on me again? They probably did that to Nicolas Roeg. So it may happen again. But I want to try."
And he admits he’s a huge fan of Dahl’s work – with The Witches as his top title. "Growing up, it was my favourite Dahl book. It was my favourite, because the witches represent adulthood. They represent the world. They represent all things that fuck up a kid. And I always thought it was great that the grandmother and the boy were essentially the same age and, therefore, were susceptible to witches that were in the guise of respectable old ladies. Dahl has that subversive streak in him. It was there in his Tales of the Unexpected, but it was also in his children's books. And Dahl has a very definitely sophisticated point of view on what the children's world is. That script is written. It's budgeted and awaiting a green light."
Don’t go holding your breath for it, though – it’ll have to sit among the other del Toro scripts jostling for attention, including The Coffin, Mountains of Madness, Dead Man and Left Hand of Darkness. And not forgetting Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, which is finally ready to shoot…
Author: James White
Source: Sci fi.com
del Toro image (c) Optimum Releasing. Guillermo del Toro's new film, Pan's Labyrinth, is released on 24 November.