Why Anne Hathaway 'Felt Comfortable' Her The Witches Performance Would Differ From Anjelica Huston's

"It felt like it would've been, in a way, disrespectful to crib her performance," Anne Hathaway said

anne hathaway and anjelica huston
Anne Hathaway, Anjelica Huston. Photo: HBO Max; Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

Anne Hathaway was determined to put her own spin on the Grand High Witch in HBO Max's The Witches.

In the Robert Zemeckis-directed horror film, Hathaway, 37, gives a standout performance as the iconic evil witch, a role that was originated by Anjelica Huston in Roald Dahl's 1990s dark comedy, based on Dahl's novel of the same name.

"I wanted to give a performance that felt as memorable to the children of today as her performance felt to me," Hathaway told Entertainment Tonight of paying homage to Huston, 69. "It felt like it would've been, in a way, disrespectful to crib her performance. Hers is hers and it was for Nick Roeg's brilliant movie, and mine was mine and it was for Robert Zemeckis."

Both actresses' give astounding performances 30 years apart, but their looks as the Grand High Witch had many differences. While Huston spent hours in the makeup trailer to execute her transformation, Hathaway needed only 45 minutes — as she documented on Instagram — to pull off her own dramatic look, thanks to the use of CGI.

"And it would've been shorter except I got stuck," she recalled to ET. "I had all my eyelashes at the end, which was the one thing I had been worried about."

the witches
Anne Hathaway and Stanley Tucci in The Witches. Courtesy Warner Bros.

Reflecting on Huston's original role in the 1990 film, Hathaway said that she "felt very comfortable that they were going to be two very, very different performances."

"Any moments that I felt, like, a little nervous about, 'Are people going to let there be two Grand High Witches in film history?' I just went, you know what? In the last 30 years, there have been four Jokers. There have been six Batmen. There have been I don't know how many James Bonds. Like, people can do this. We're just not used to doing it with actresses," she explained.

anjelica huston
Anjelica Huston. Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

Ahead of the new film's release, Hathaway praised Huston on Instagram, sharing several photos of Huston from the original film and calling her performance as the Grand High Witch "flawless and iconic."

"Her performance is magnificent — witty, unforgettable, scary as hell and sheer perfection," Hathaway wrote, adding that "the scene where she pushes the baby down the cliff still gives [her] chills to this day."

Hathaway also noted that the two actresses share the same initials. "I just wanted to say, one AH to another, that I tip my wig to the O.G.G.H.W. Anjelica Huston," she wrote.

The Witches, also starring Stanley Tucci and Octavia Spencer, is available to stream now on HBO Max.

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