A new from Hocus Pocus 2 was released online this week, unveiling our first official look at Billy Butcherson, once again played by Doug Jones and back from the dead for another night of Halloween hijinks.
The new photo, revealed by Entertainment Weekly, features Billy alone in a graveyard, released this week along with new interviews with Jones and Hocus Pocus 2 director Anne Fletcher, which provide some new insight into what we can expect from the film.
On seeing Jones on set in Billy’s full costume and makeup for the first time, Fletcher tells EW, “It does something to your soul, it’s so surreal, it’s so mind-blowing. He’s in a moment of betrayal [in the scene], so you’re looking at this beloved character in such a way who’s been hurt, and it blows your socks off. I’ll never forget that.”
Jones adds, “I was really happy that Billy comes out of the grave talking. It is seamless between the first movie and the second, that’s the first thing I felt. It keeps the pureness and nostalgia alive and well for those who grew up with the first movie, and for any new fans we’re gathering now will be excited about modernization for the current time we’re in… Billy came back to me immediately, it was frightening how he’s been alive while I’ve been playing other characters all these years, but, Billy’s like, ‘I wanted my chance again.'”
He says the sequel will also explore more of Billy’s own backstory, telling EW, “His hatred for the witches puts him on [the teens’] side.”
On reprising the now-iconic role, Jones continues, “He was pretty decrepit to start with, and I come out of the grave looking exactly like two minutes have passed,” noting that Hocus Pocus makeup artist Tony Gardner reprised his role behind the scenes for the sequel — as did Jones’ wig. “It was the exact same wig,” he says. “They had it on a dummy on display for 29 years, they put it back on my head in the same style, it didn’t even need a touch-up. The costume was rebuilt to be the same as the first one, so I looked exactly the same. It was so nostalgic for me to look in the mirror and go, ‘You’re 30-nothing years old again.”
The sequel stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, who return to reprise their roles as Winnifred, Sarah, and Mary Sanderson, witches from the 1600s resurrected in modern day Salem, and with Doug Jones reprising his role as Billy.
The cast also includes Whitney Peak, Lilia Buckingham, Belissa Escobedo, Tony Hale, Sam Richardson, Hannah Waddingham, Juju Brener, Froy Gutierrez, Taylor Henderson, Nina Kitchen, and Doug Jones also reprising his legacy character, Billy Butcherson, from the original film. RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Ginger Minj, Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté, and Kahmora Hall will play drag versions of Winifred, Mary, and Sarah, respectively, in a scene that takes place at a drag show attended by the trio of Sanderson sisters.
Anne Fletcher (The Guilt Trip, 27 Dresses) directs the sequel, produced by Lynn Leshem and executive produced by Adam Shankman, from a script by Jen D’Angelo (Workaholics).
Here’s the new official synopsis: It’s been 29 years since someone lit the Black Flame Candle and resurrected the 17th-century sisters, and they are looking for revenge. Now it is up to three high-school students to stop the ravenous witches from wreaking a new kind of havoc on Salem before dawn on All Hallow’s Eve.
Hocus Pocus 2 will premiere on September 30 on Disney+.
You can view the new image of Billy Butcherson below.
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