Doug Jones sheds light on what his original line is about Hocus Pocus been real. The 1993 Disney cult classic, starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, has been a Halloween staple for generations and recently returned with the highly anticipated sequel. Hocus pocus 2. The story of the Sanderson sisters begins twenty-nine years after that fateful Halloween night in 1993 when teen Max (Omri Katz), his sister Dani (Thora Birch), and love interest Allison (Vinessa Shaw) had to face the almighty witches. .
In hocus pocus, the Sanderson sisters return after Max lights the Black Flame Candle, allowing the witches to terrorize Salem. The Sandersons set their sights on the three children, and to gain the upper hand, Winifred (Midler) resurrects her late lover, Billy Butcherson (Jones), and instructs him to go after them. Billy’s mouth is sewn shut and his dilapidated appearance leads Max and the rest to believe he’s an enemy, just like the Sandersons. However, the end of Hocus Pocus gives Billy some freedom when his mouth is ripped open, and he quickly takes the opportunity to yell at Winifred.
Jones, who just reprised his role as Billy in Hocus pocus 2, reflects on the making of the first film in a new interview with Collider. Looking back on his big moment when Billy is allowed to speak, Jones remembers what the line should have been originally. It wasn’t as family-friendly as the finished product, so Jones advocated change. He says:
Right. When I auditioned for the movie, he had one word in the original script. When I finally cut my mouth open, I had to look up at Bette Midler, floating in the air, Max in one arm, grab his knife and cut my mouth open. It had to look very menacing because Winifred yelled, ‘Kill him! Get him!” And instead of ending little Max’s life, I yell at Bette Midler. The original script just wanted me to “Bitch!” yelling at her, which was funny. But at the same time, I thought, “This is a Disney kids movie. I really want the kids to know that I’m on their side, not the witch’s side. Could be a surge of emotion after 300 years on it.” wouldn’t sitting be funnier and more family-friendly?” So I pitched that idea to our director, Kenny Ortega, and he said, “I love it!”
And that’s why that sentence came out of me and stayed in the movie. He says, “Wench! Trolop! You buck-toothed, mop-riding firefly from hell!” And then I look at little Max and say, “I’ve waited ages to say that.” And then, ad-libreed he returns, “Well, say what you want Billy, just don’t breathe on me” cause my breath must have been horrible. It created a moment in the movie that I think was a lot more fun. You can do that in comedies. You can try things out until you find the funny thing and you click. Hocus Pocus was full of it. The script rewriting came at a rapid pace, but all to improve the film.
Doug Jones Made the Right Decision to Keep the Movie Disney Friendly
Ultimately both Hocus Pocus movies remained very kid friendly. While the original film has some terrifying moments – thanks mainly to Billy himself – it’s a very tame Halloween movie that is now rewatched by families every year. Jones’ insistence that Hocus Pocus stay a kid-friendly film was therefore the right choice. While one bad word probably wouldn’t have changed much of the film’s legacy, the alternate line fits the overall tone much better. It stays with Hocus Pocus’ themes of good versus evil, and it makes for a much funnier exchange.
Jones’ suggestion to change that one-word line made that scene such an iconic moment in Hocus Pocus that it is always remembered by fans around the world. Billy’s single line became much more distinctive, and thus even better for citing possibilities. Half the fun in Hocus Pocus Billy Butcherson and the rest of the gang cheers against the witches, and Jones’ last suggestion made for an even more satisfying moment of triumph.
Next: Billy Butcherson’s Hocus Pocus 2 Fate Creates An Original Movie Plot Hole