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SYFY WIRE The Witches

Casting: Anne Hathaway is the Grand High Witch; Dune finds its Reverend Mother

By Jacob Oller
The Witches

Three big-name actresses with hardcore genre bona fides have recently joined some upcoming projects filled with sci-fi and fantasy goodness. Anne Hathaway (the Catwoman who split the difference between Halle Berry and Michelle Pfeiffer), Charlotte Rampling (a senior Templar elder in Assassin's Creed), and Toni Collette (the Hereditary all-star) all landed parts in movies that fans should be looking forward to.

Hathaway, according to Variety, has landed a leading and utterly evil role in the remake of The Witches coming from Robert Zemeckis. The actress had previously been considering a role in the film but wasn’t sure if witchcraft or Sesame Street was the right call for her time. Obviously, she chose to be the Grand High Witch in Roald Dahl’s terrifying story of the same name. Taking over for Anjelica Huston in the role is no small feat, but getting to scare the hell out of a kid sounds like a refreshing change of pace after Hathaway’s recent roles.

The book had already been adapted in 1990 into a cult hit that’s far scarier than its target demographic’s age may warrant — and with Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro producing, the version from Zemeckis looks to be no different on that front.

But now for something a bit more original. As Variety also reports, Collette will be Anna Kendrick’s commanding officer in space thriller Stowaway.

Joe Penna and Ryan Morrison’s follow-up film to survival story Arctic will see Kendrick’s medical researcher arguing on the side of a Mars mission’s stowaway who’s damaged the ship’s life support and is taking up limited resources. Collette, as the ship’s captain, will likely be her main foe in this debate. Sounds like a philosophical problem ripe for escalation, and, being in space, you know it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Finally, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Denis Villeneuve's Dune adaptation is adding another familiar face.

Charlotte Rampling is coming to Arrakis in the role of the Reverend Mother Mohiam, one who can do all sorts of psychic-adjacent things in service of the emperor. This version of Frank Herbert's novel already counts Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Dave Bautista, and Stellan Skarsgard among its stacked cast — and as every Dune fan knows, a star-studded cast still doesn't guarantee a good movie. But with Rampling on board, it's another move in the right direction. The film begins shooting this spring.