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A host of British names have joined the cast of fantasy feature Man & Witch, the upcoming fantasy film set to mark the return to screen of Tami Stronach, best known for her role as the Childlike Empress in 1984’s The NeverEnding Story.
First announced last year by The Hollywood Reporter, the film — which has now wrapped a six-week shoot on location in Scotland and L.A. — sees Stronach play the titular witch, who helps a cursed goatherd (Greg Steinbruner, who also wrote the screenplay) in his quest for love, with Sean Astin (Stranger Things, Lord of the Rings), Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future), Michael Emerson (Lost) and Shorhreh Aghdashloo (The Expanse) also starring.
Astin plus the newly announced trio of Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous, Shrek), Eddie Izzard (Victoria & Abdul) and Bill Bailey (Hot Fuzz) voice the goatherd’s loyal companions Dog, Goose, Sheep and Donkey, brought to life with photo-realistic puppets fabricated by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, and operated by a team of puppeteers led by Damien Farrell (Rogue One).
Billed as a whimsical, family comedy and a homage to the lo-fi fantasy films of the 80s, Man & Witch has also bolstered is cast by adding Pauline McLynn (Johnny English Strikes Again), Daniel Portman (Game of Thrones), comedian Reginald D. Hunter, Stuart Bowman (Versailles), newcomer Martha West (The Pursuit of Love) and professional dancer and choreographer Giovanni Pernice (a judge on the U.K.’s Strictly Come Dancing).
Directed by Michael Hines (Still Game), Man & Witch is being scored by Emmy-winning composer Geoff Zanelli (Malificent, Pirates Of The Caribbean).
“I’ve known for a while that it was time to come back to the screen. I was in New York making plays and dances, and I thought ‘eventually people will just forget about the Neverending Story and the fan mail will stop coming,'” said Stronach. “But the opposite happened. 80s kids grew up and now they want to share the things they love with their own kids. And there’s this huge appetite for those classic films, but also a desire to get back to what made those films so timeless. A sense of wonder, and magic and fun. A fantasy world that feels real. That we can lose ourselves in and return to over and over as a family.”
Man & Witch is a project of New York based Paper Canoe Company in conjunction with Scottish producer Angela Murray, the executive producers are Sam Williams, Tom Carroll, Steinbruner and Stronach. The production is currently exploring distribution arrangements for a worldwide release in late 2021 or early 2022.
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