What makes Abracadabra a classic? Cast and director respond

What makes Abracadabra a classic? Cast and director respond
What makes Abracadabra a classic? Cast and director respond

Halloween, the humor, the cast, the costumes, the music… Today it’s hard to pinpoint a single reason why Abracadabra has been so popular with the public since its release. However, when the actress Kathy Najimy agreed to play one of the Sanderson sisters, no one expected that this would be the reception, let alone that one day this Halloween adventure would be seen as a 1990s classic. “I don’t think anyone could have predicted this, otherwise everyone would make this kind of movie”, explained the interpreter of Mary, during the press conference of the sequence. But that’s not to say she doesn’t have a hunch as to why people are still enamored with the story of these three witches.

“Besides my performance…”laughed Najimy, setting the tone for what would be a funnier conversation than usual. “This movie has a bit of a Wizard of Oz thing about it. [ser passado adiante por] generations. Parents show it to their children, who show it to their children…. So he becomes part of that family’s history.”. the director of Abracadabra 2, Anne Fletcherechoed the theory. “It’s evergreen. You can watch it with the whole family”.

Indeed, nearly 30 years after it hit theaters, it’s remarkable how Abracadabra aged well. Visual effects aside, there’s something even bold about the jokes and plot, and maybe that’s why it translates so well to both 1990s and 2020s kids. Fletcher knew that all too well, and not the toa made his sequel a great tribute.

“The mission is to honor the first film. Make sure I’m doing these characters justice for the fans, and introduce them to a new generation.”revealed the director. “As I like to say, I didn’t feel like I could compete with ‘I Put a Spell on You’, which Bette [Midler] and Marc Shaiman wrote. So I didn’t try, and I really focused on the story.”.


Abracadabra 2 follows the Sanderson sisters’ new attempt at revenge against Salem. It seems counterintuitive considering the ending of the first film, but the trio manages to return after an aspiring wizard recreates the black flame candle and convinces three young best friends to light it for Halloween. The person responsible for such a mess ironically calls himself “Gilbert the Great”, and is played by none other than an avowed fan of the original, Sam Richardson.

It is no exaggeration: the actor is very fond of Abracadabra. “The first time I saw it was at the cinema and my reaction was ‘one day I’ll be there’”, he joked, before dropping the joke and accurately describing where he went to see him. Interestingly, Fletcher had no idea of ​​this when he cast it, and didn’t find out about Richardson’s appreciation for the original until the first day of shooting the sequel. “He came to the set and we didn’t know each other. We’d never talked, and actors don’t do that. But there he was, in his costume”recalled the filmmaker. “So I went to say hello, and we talked until I finally asked. ‘Why did you accept to make this film without knowing me? This is super weird. It just doesn’t happen’. And he said to me: ‘I master Abracadabra'”.

Najimy even took advantage of the story to try to embarrass him, questioning who would be his favorite: Winnie, Mary or Sarah. Though Richardson did not fall into his trap— “my favorite character wouldn’t show up until 30 years later, and his name is Gilbert the Great” he responded — he could barely disguise his excitement at being a part of the sequel. “To be able to be in this movie as a fan who grew up watching it, and to watch these three and Doug [Jones]. And seeing me there… There are so many levels, it’s very meta”laughed. “And I was able to watch the movie, I mean, I watched myself watching them… It’s indescribable”.


As Richardson, Kathy Najimy, well recalled, Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker aren’t the only ones reprising their roles in Abracadabra 2. Doug Jones is also back as the wooing corpse, Billy Butcherson. And despite sharing his co-star’s enthusiasm, the actor had a much more down-to-earth first day on set.

“I’ll tell you what, Billy Butcherson is a very physical character. He was 32 when I played him for the first time, and he was 61 the second time. It’s a big difference. My first scene in the movie was tripping over a ladder and crashing into the door, and at the time I was like, ‘I don’t remember being so tiring!’”said.

However, eventually it all came back. “When I looked at myself in the mirror, I thought, ‘Oh my God, two minutes have passed in the last 29 years. And then it came to me: the voice, everything! I don’t know what happened, but it was magical.”.

Abracadabra 2 is now available on Disney+.

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The article is in Portuguese

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