Relax, It’s Only Magic: An Oral History Of ‘The Craft’

Teen film in the 1990 s and early 2000 s was largely defined by titles like “Clueless, ” “Scream, ” “Can’t Hardly Wait, ” “American Pie” and “Cruel Intentions” — homages to preppy party children with expensive clothes and trendy taste.

For as often as it is mentioned in the same breath as these hittings, “The Craft” was something different. Released on May 3, 1996, the witchy wonder became an ode to the fringes of the high school experience that Hollywood favored. Among its contemporaries, the movie was a deviation.

The four young girls at the center — Nancy( Fairuza Balk ), Sarah( Robin Tunney ), Rochelle( Rachel True) and Bonnie( Neve Campbell) — didn’t go to any cool parties, and their goth-oriented manner surely didn’t channels the same preppy ideal as Cher, Dionne and Tai. If anything, the movie was a spiritual extension of “Carrie” and “The Breakfast Club” — two movies that tackled the social stratification of high school — and “Heathers, ” a dark slapstick that turned wealth into a bloodsport. As a outcome, “The Craft” did something remarkable, becoming part of the ‘9 0s teen canon and a cult classic of its own merit.

For the movie’s 20 th anniversary, The Huffington Post spoke with the writer, director, producer and a few of the casting members who brought “The Craft” to life.( Also, happy 42 nd birthday, Fairuza Balk !) While we can’t confirm whether young kids are still intoning “light as a feather, stiff as a board” at sleepovers, we did chart the project from start to finish. It turns out a certain “Clueless” star was almost cast, a few spooky instances happened on the situated and a battle with the MPAA ensued on the movie’s route toward $25 million in domestic receipts. Oh, and now there’s a sequel on the horizon, too. Join us in revisiting the cinema because now is the time, this is the hour, ours is the magical and ours is the power.

PART I. WITCHY WOMEN

Sometime after the release of the 1990 sci-fi movie “Flatliners, ” screenwriter Peter Filardi had a meeting with producer Doug Wick in which they discussed the idea of making a movie about teen witches. Out of that session, of course, came “The Craft.” But before we get ahead of ourselves, here’s how it all started .

Peter Filardi( screenwriter ): The idea for “The Craft” came from Doug Wick and I brainstorming. After “Flatliners, ” Doug and I fulfilled. He wanted to come up with either a haunted house story or a teen witch tale together.

Doug Wick( producer ): I’ve always been very interested in female empowerment, and my first movie was “Working Girl.” I was sort of thinking about teenage girl children and[ how] suddenly they come into this enormous power of their sexuality, and how to maybe make a movie about that. I was very aware that[ witchcraft is an] age-old metaphor for talking about female empowerment, and the sort of mysteries of women and their connection to nature to its implementation of reproductivity.

Doug and I spoke for hours about sorcery, mushrooms and ecstasy. Peter Filardi, screenwriter

Filardi: At the time, I was immersed in the world of teen Satanism and that volatile cocktail of hallucinogens, metal and sorcery. I knew a lot about how magical ran and where it came from. I had become fascinated by Ricky Kasso, a pioneer in teen Satanism.

Wick : I started trying to figure out how to do a tale that would be[ about] very real teenage emotions expressed through witchcraft. In that heightened world, we could really explore the yearns, the fears and the wants of teenage daughters just as they sort of come into their power — the power of their sexuality, their power in the world. I started talking to different novelists about how to approach this, and I talked to several people who were style too “genre” and didn’t truly understand. This seemed as though a great petri dish for examining young lady. Then Peter Filardi came in, and he instantaneously had great ideas. Filardi : Doug and I spoke for hours about sorcery, mushrooms and rapture. I recollect telling him that magic is historically a weapon of the underclass. It was originally practiced by people of the heath, or “heathens” — poor people without the power of a monarch, army or church behind them. Our characters could not be popular, beautiful overlords of their school. For real magical to run, they would have to be outsiders with more than longings. Real magic requires need. Doug concurred. He had young daughters at the time. He was a great collaborator and advocate for the project.

Wick: We set it up pretty easily at Sony, and Peter wrote a really good script. It was always about the unbelievable yearning of high school, the fears of high school and what would you do if you were empowered? What would go right and what would go wrong? And what would be unexpected? The script evolved — get very good, and the studio was interested. But it was a really strange movie for a studio, because it was way before young-adult movies and it didn’t precisely fall into a normal category. It was still a lot easier to get movies about teenage sons built than teenage girls.

Andy Fleming( director ): [ The script] came to me — I think it was a rewrite task. Or maybe the latter are looking for a director. I read it and I thought, “Oh, I know what this is.” So I ran and met to do a rewrite on it.

Wick : We were looking for a director and Andy Fleming had done a good horror movie and then he had done “Threesome.” Filardi : When I heard Andy was coming on, I ran out and watched “Threesome.” It’s a great film with great characters. I knew that Doug had chosen a very smart, character-driven director for the project. I was psyched. I remember Andy called and introduced himself. He asked if I had any believes not already expressed on paper. I told Andy that, for me, this was not a “hocus pocus” film. It was about the power of adolescent ache. Andy agreed and off he went.

Fleming: It was the process of personalizing it. I just got invested in it. At one point, they said they were happy and they wanted to go out to directors, and I said, “I want to do this.” I’d spent too much time with it and I felt like I knew those girls.

Filardi: When I read his draft, I was excited. There was no collaboration once he took over the screenwriting and directing duties.

Fleming : The tone was there and the idea was there, but my experience from high school was not “Pretty in Pink.” It was a very serious, gothic, heavy-duty experience. Everybody was under a lot of pressure. So I liked that part of it a lot. I brought to it the idea that the main character had committed suicide. The notion that the Rochelle character was black and that she’d been experiencing racism, that was my notion. The notion that Bonnie had been burned, that was my notion. There was a girl in my dorm room who tried to kill herself and I found her with her wrists cut. There was a girl in my dormitory who had burns like that, and I was intrigued by her. There was a lot of weird bigotry in high school. I believe I personalized it. I also liked the idea that it was sorcery, but that it felt real. All the witches you’d seen in movies heretofore had been in black pointy hats with green scalp, and weirdly a few years before, somebody in the business, I guess I upset them. It was this woman. I don’t want to go into details, but she said, “I’m a Pagan. I’m going to cast a spell on you and it’s going to fuck you up.” I was actually freaked out.

Wick: Andy also always said that he had a tortuous experience in high school, so he brought his own sense of reality of high school being a haunted place, with real villainy and threat and the occasional exhilaration.

Fleming : I did a lot of research and it was just so interesting because there were so many delusions about Paganism. It was the idea of showing it in a more realistic route and showing how people practise it. If sorcery happens, it’ll make it more believable. It was starting from a place of reality and building the girls feel like they had real-world problems. That was what I ran in with. Wick : We had an expert. We did a lot of Wicca research. The girls, to a different magnitude, were entranced — FairuzaBalk the most. Certainly Andy did a lot. He’s a really talented guy. Filardi : I did not use a witch consultant on the screenplay, but I did a lot of studies, both reading and first-hand, into earth sorceries and the things we experience when we are truly open to the forces of nature around us. I use Scott Cunningham’s volume Earth Power as one of my touchstones. It’s an amazing text I still reference today. Goddesses in Everywoman by Jean Bolen was another. Joseph Campbell’s Power of Myth was my bible. Hole’s “Live Through This” was spot-on for me musically while writing “The Craft.” It’s that raw power of teen pain. I still think of “The Craft” whenever I hear “Doll Parts’” or “Softer Softest” — apologies to Courtney Love. During the penning process, I had some interaction with Wiccans and their culture, but not much. My characters were sole practitioners. I believe that magical lives in each of us, and is accessed in unique and personal styles. That’s how life has worked out for me, and it’s how magical shows and grows for the four young women in “The Craft.”

Fleming: [ The consultant] on the set helped write the chants and incantations. Pat Devin, she’s credited in the movie as a technological consultant, but she was really there to try to make it real. I wanted Wiccans to see it and say, “Yeah, that’s not offensive to me. That’s what it’s like.” The whole idea was to make up stuff because the divinity that they refer to in the movie is something that we made up — because it might have been offensive to people if we had utilized people’s real gods. We generated our own.

PART II. CASTING A SPELL

Once Fleming signed on to direct, it was time to cast the four main starrings. The process would prove more difficult than expected. Films with one strong female protagonist — let alone four — weren’t that common, and the crew was dealing with relative newcomers to the industry.

Rachel True( actress, Rochelle ): When I was starting out as relevant actors, “Heathers” was on TV every day, like “The Craft” is now. I remember supposing, “I merely want to be in a movie that’s cool and fun and everybody love and they still talk about even though it was years ago, like’ Heathers.’”

Fleming: The casting was genuinely, for some reason, very difficult. I think it was a process for the studio to wrap their heads around observing four fresh faces and making a movie out of them.

Pam Dixon( casting director ): “Paranormal Activity” hadn’t happened. None of these things had happened where you could do a small movie and it gets this big audience.

We actually had a hold on somebody that we had to let go because she got offered another cinema, and we didnt know if the movie was really happening. That girl was Angelina Jolie. Pam Dixon, casting director

Wick : It fit in no category. It was before YA. There were very few female heroines like that, and there was no starring who was exactly right.

Fleming: The casting took awhile because we didn’t have Arnold Schwarzenegger or Bruce Willis. The whole idea of a girl-centric teenage movie that was dark, there weren’t actually a lot of antecedents for that. It was pre-“Buffy, ” and it was before “Scream.” There was “Heathers, ” but that was a slapstick. It didn’t feel like we were borrowing from any other movie.

Dixon: We did these testing and we tested a lot of daughters, some of whom have become really well-known. We actually had a hold on someone that we had to let go because she got offered another cinema, and we didn’t know if the movie was really happening. That daughter was Angelina Jolie. She did “Foxfire” instead. Another person who came in was Scarlett Johansson, who was just 12 at the time. The other girl was Alicia Silverstone. This would have been ‘9 5. She had just shot “Clueless, ” but it had not come out. Alicia also got something between the time that we read them and the time we were really going to construct the movie, so we couldn’t pick her up either and she went to do something else. They were all really for Sarah.

Fleming: At the time, there wasn’t a whole federation of teen performers like there is now. There was Winona Ryder and Claire Danes — that was kind of it. It took us a long time to find the right four girls. I think we stimulated test deals with 85 girls. It took nine months. We did a lot of screen tests. I think we saw every single actress that’s in that age category. Rachel True was the first one. She merely had a funny quality. She was beautiful, but there was also this kind of anxiety about her. She just reminded me of a girl I went to school with, and I liked this idea of that character, that she’s black but that she’s from this wealthy family and there’s a lot of pressure. Those are the kinds of kids I went to school with, so I thought it would be interesting to see that.

True: I go to my agents at the time and say, “I’d really like to read for this, ” and they across the board went, “No, you’re not right for it.” I ran, “No , no, really I am. I promise you I am.” I suppose I ran in and read for merely casting, and then I went back and read for Andy Fleming. At that phase, the character Rochelle was Caucasian and bulimic. Luckily, they switched that up. I think that having the racial component in that movie added a really great layer that simply wasn’t there in most teen movies. A plenty of times, the roles I played, I literally say the words “Are you OK? ” So this time I got to play a character who actually had something going on.

Fleming: I think the next person was Fairuza, and she was a practice Pagan. I only had coffee with her and gues, “Who else in the world could possibly play that part? ” She was part of a big screen test, but she’d done “Gas Food Lodging” and everybody knew she was good.

Wick: For Nancy, plainly the scoundrel sometimes takes the most chops, and to create a real high school daughter who can seem accessible and relatable and then travel to far-off sociopath places and still[ dedicate] a coherent performance is a lot for a young performer to pull off. A few people were mentioned who were very attractive who didn’t have the chops, and Fairuza Balk at the time was a kind of actor’s actor. If you’d mentioned her to Neve Campbell, she’d say, “Wow, Fairuza Balk, she’s awesome.” She wasn’t so much known by the public,[ but] she was a pretty clear choice to go after for the villain.

Dixon: I got to know Fairuza pretty well. I just really liked her. She was offbeat, and Nancy was offbeat. I suppose she only brought something to it that wasn’t actually right on the page. It was interesting. She was a little bit ahead of her period because she wasn’t the collegiate, clean-cut-looking girl. If you were in a hippie commune, that’s maybe where you would find her. Even though she appears funky, she’s smart. What we decided to do was screen exams. That’s where Fairuza Balk and Neve Campbell tested. I knew a girl in New York by the name of Robin Tunney, and I said to her, “I require someone to come in and read in these tests with the girls at Sony.” So she came, really, as the girl reading against the actresses “were in” testing. When everyone considered the test, they all went, “Wow, look at that girl.”

Wick: We really liked Robin Tunney, so we brought her in and screen-tested her, then screen-tested the girls together, and it was that screen exam together — you know, it was made for $15 million — that stimulated[ the studio] finally say yes.

Fleming: Robin came in and she had just cut all her hair off for “Empire Records, ” and I thought she was weird. I think she was nervous. She was jumping around in the office and I couldn’t get a read on her.

Deborah Everton( costume designer ): She had this really cute pixie cut that I loved. I thought she appeared great. The studio wanted a wig — not sure why. Sometimes studios make decisions and the rest of us only scratch our heads and wonder[ why ].

Fleming: Robin was originally cast in the proportion that Neve Campbell played, but we wanted her for the result. We had to talk her into playing the result, which was weird. But she did it. She wanted to play Bonnie, and we said, “No, we want you to be Sarah.” It was like a reverse-Hollywood story where she wanted the smaller part.

Dixon: Neve was the most famous, by far. I think it was a selling phase in that they were happy to have someone they did have promotability on. Assumpta Serna[ who played the character Lirio] was well-known in her area. In her country, she was a star.

Assumpta Serna( actress, Lirio ): I just think that Andrew insured me in something, then asked for me. I think he saw me in “Matador” and it was ‘8 6. That was how I got involved.[ Witchcraft was] something I had no experience in at all. I went to three or four shops and then[ someone] gave me a list of four or five shops in Los Angeles, so I went there one by one, buying stuff. I always want the role to exist in my house, and also if there is something they like in the situated, I like to provide it because then it’s something that is more mine.

Helen Shaver( actress, Grace Downs ): I was in the original “Amityville Horror” long before there were visual consequences. I was the psychic who crashes down the wall and watches hell. I played in this arena before, so I didn’t feel I needed to do research about witchcraft.

Wick: When we did a screen exam of the girls, Andy did one great shooting, which is the four daughters strolling toward you with a little bit of posture, and there’s a shot like that in the movie that was part of the campaign. That actually was what got the studio over the hump.[ That demonstrated] it was something they could sell. That sort of girl power of the group was all in that one bit of screen test.

Dixon: I think everyone was distinctive and everyone brought something to it in a different way. And “youve never” get confused who was who. With the four different girls, you had person that , no matter who you were in life, you could identify with.

Serna : When I satisfied the girls, I remember that Robin really impressed me. It was so easy for her. And then Fairuza was perfectly someone that behaved like a character. I always remember them being very young and noisy.

Shaver: I simply remember having a really great time with these four girls in the larger scenes, and having a lot of fun. Running with Fairuza in the scenes in the trailer, I was really impressed with what a fine actress she is. She seemed to be a very bruised human being, but she channeled all of that energy through the character and I was really impressed with her. To me, she has an old soul and a deep well of intuitive experience, and we had this mother-daughter relationship on screen and merely a very easy relationship off screen.

True: I gratified Neve at the first read-through, and we just clicked right away. We simply giggled so much during the shooting of the movie. I think it was a little harder for the others. Fairuza definitely had an intense vibe. You kind of just let her do her thing because you knew she was carrying so much of the weight of the movie on her shoulders. Neve and I weren’t going to over and crack jokes around her when she’s trying to prepare for a heavy scene. And Robin had just come off “Empire Records, ” so she was more accomplished already at that point. I’d only done one other studio movie before that, “CB4” with Chris Rock, so I was a little intimidated by the whole thing.

Dixon: “The Craft, ” in all honesty, I believe, was one of the first movies ever to have the various kinds of scope that it did.

PART III. MAKE THEM SEE, MAKE THEM SEE

With the casting in place, the characters came to life. Thanks in large proportion to the movie’s goth-inspired stylings, the studio ultimately find the crew’s vision .

Fleming: I had this idea that older Los Angeles — the kind that was built in the’ 40 s and that’s kind of decayed — is unique as a big city in that there’s nature everywhere. The whole premise was that there should always be trees or there should be skies or water or gale or flame — the four components. So we were always putting in greens or adding animals or gust or candles. The sorcery comes from the earth. I bought into the whole thing.

Everton : I dedicated each girl an element, but[ it was very] loose. The style Andy Fleming writes every scene is new. There’s very few scenes strew together where they’re all wearing the same costume.

Filardi: The daughters in “The Craft” were mixtures and matches of daughters I knew, but even more so, they were inspired and empowered by goddess archetypes and earth parts. Sarah is earth. Bonnie, with the power of foresight, is breeze. Rochelle, the diver, is water. Nancy, of course, is fire.

That was my premise: What if those witchcraft girls in high school dressed like they were in The Cure? Andy Fleming, director

Fleming: We put them in these attires that were kind of goth-y. That was my premise: What if those witchcraft daughters in high school dressed like they were in The Cure? I simply had this idea that they should have a punk part. At that point, goth wasn’t genuinely a thing.

True: The garbs were kind of how we were all dressing in the’ 90 s. Fairuza was like she was straight out of a goth band. When I moved to California, which was maybe two or three years before I got “The Craft, ” I had come from New York where everybody garmented all in black. Everybody looked like Fairuza’s character in the East Village. That was the normal look for me. But the second I get off the plane in California, I was like, “How does everybody have on the exact same little flower dress? ” So I simply realized that’s the California take on all of this. The flower garments we have in there are very specific to exactly what was happening in California casual manner. Now it appears super specific and dated, but in a super cool way.

Everton: The first day of shooting was the first day the girls met each other, and Robin didn’t even have her school uniform yet. The studio flipped out and believed I was the worst costume designer and thought I was going to ruin their movie with how blah the girls appeared. They all came down in a pack to my office. I was terrified. And for some reason studio executives always travel in a pack, it’s the funniest thing. They truly thought I lost the plot, but fortunately, they didn’t fire me and let me be demonstrating what I had schemed and they calmed down and we got the cinema made.

Fleming: We shot these scenes and it was in that moment that the studio said, “Oh, we get it.” It was the music and the clothes and the candles and the whole thing.

Everton: I wanted the Robin Tunney character to be the most vulnerable sectors so the audience had somebody as a protagonist. I wanted to keep her softer and more accessible than the other girls, particularly Nancy, who was much more hard-edged. Her clothes were almost like an armor because she was, underneath all that meanness, kind of simply a broken child.

Shaver: For me, get that wig to be right was a very huge part of creating the character. That’s simply women I’ve observed in the world who clearly fell asleep on their hair, sweat, brushed the front and not the back, put on too much makeup over the makeup they still had on from yesterday since they are didn’t rinse their face, had another cigarette and hoped for the best, I guess. Had a drinking and tried to make-up the world go away.

True: When we did the read-through, I had a scene with my upper middle class, stodgy parents. We shot it, but it aimed up being cut from the cinema, which I was a little bummed about because I was like, “Wait, all the other girls get parents. I don’t get mothers? ” And this was 20 years ago, so then I said, “Listen, you’re black and you’re in the movie. That’s pretty good already.”

Filardi : One of my favorite scenes is the “Calling of the Corners” on the beach. When the girls come together at the beach, it’s the climax of their united powers. Those moments of unity are my favorites in the film. The beach is a power location in earth sorceries. When you build a fire on a beach, all four earth components are brought together. “Where earth fulfills gale fulfills water, we bring fire.” When you have four girls, representing four parts, four seasons, four directions, four evangelists, and unify them at a beach with fire, that’s when the shit goes down.

Fleming: There are just a few weird things. When the latter are calling the corners on the beach, the park ranger had said, “This is the highest the waves will go at high tide, ” so we moved our circle of fire inland from there. But it was just this odd thing where, when the girls started the incantations, the waves kind of came up. And at one point, a wave came and wiped the whole set out. It’s actually in the movie very briefly. When the camera is spinning around, a wave wipes out the flame. It just seemed like every time we went outside, something happened. It was a spooky atmosphere on situate, but I think people joked about it.

Wick : It’s all true. I can’t remember all the specifics. I recollect at the time, everyone was kind of captivated by these occurrences. Whether they had really summoned Manon or we got lucky with a few power outages, I’ll never know.

I was like, ‘Wait, all the other girls get parents. I dont get mothers? ‘ And this was 20 years ago, so then I said, ‘Listen, youre black and youre in the movie. Thats pretty good already.’ Rachel True, actress

Fleming : It was not a big-budget movie. Visual impacts were much more expensive at that time, or they were harder to do. But Sony Imageworks was at the center of the cutting edge of effects work at the time. They generated proprietary software to stimulate those butterflies happen. It was a combination of real and digital. It was a lot of work, definitely. The snakes were all real, except for the one shot where Fairuza’s hair turns into snakes. At one point, the animal wrangler said we had 10,000 serpents. A plenty of them were small, but we had giant buckets everywhere. Robin was the one who really had to put up with it. She was fine with the snakes. Oddly, she has a phobia of birds, so we didn’t have any birds.

Serna: I remember being very impressed by the effects. They were trying new stuff, Sony, and they were very pleased with research results. It was impressive to find.

True: [ “Light as a plumage, stiff as a board”] was super fun to shoot, and also because it gave my character something to do. It took a long time because it was green screen and they had to do crane shots. It was very technical. I was basically on a hydraulic lift. I had some sort of metal thing that I laid in and they put my clothes around that, and I remember believing, “Oh my God, this thing is attaining my hips appear three times wider than they are.” But in the end, I suppose the scene came off really well. It’s not a comedic movie by any means, but there are elements of slapstick and I liked that I was able to be the one to intersperse that.

Filardi: From start to finish, “The Craft” was make use of many talented people who understood the narrative, devoted to it and improved it. That’s how good films work.

PART IV. CONJURING UP A COVEN OF FANS

Despite mixed reviews, “The Craft” took on a life of its own. It wasn’t a runaway hit at the box office, but it quickly gained cult status. In 2015, reports emerged that Sony was developing something of an indirect sequel, which aims to explore the film’s themes with a fresh perspective.

Filardi : It’s funny that the movie got an R, which I don’t think it deserves. It had darker stuff that I think was taken out so that it could be a PG or a PG-1 3, and I think it would have reached a bigger audience when it first came out. It’s crazy, actually. The movie’s designed for 16 -, 15 -, 14 -year-olds. Not an R. I think it was given an R because of the theology — I don’t know. I have no explain.

Fleming: That was kind of a snafu. We were trying to make a PG-1 3, so we weren’t use the F-word or having any nudity. Then, right before shooting, the MPAA apprise us, because I guess we’d sent the script to them, that no matter what we did, the movie would be an R rating. They said it was black magic and adolescents. And I said, “Hold on. Paganism and Wicca and sorcery are not black magic. Black magic is devil worship.” We had attained that distinction very clear and early, that it’s not about devil adore. They wouldn’t budge, so it was frustrate. If I had to guess, they wouldn’t do that now. I’ve never had much luck with the MPAA. They don’t like me. We had a huge fight over “Threesome.” There was nothing we could do about “The Craft.”

Wick : [ The R rating] was very disappointing. It’s interesting, because now it would practically be G, but at the time, the issue of teen suicide — there was a lot of anxiety about that. Very little ground had been broken in terms of the more realistic exploration of teen agony. I believe the rating people at the time are likely to be old white guys. Those things just seemed kind of dangerous to them, which in a funny route is almost part of the tale — this sort of not understanding[ was] why they burned witches in the first place, because they didn’t understand the mysteries of young woman. Getting our R was the modern-day equivalent of having a few witches burned at the stake [ chuckles ].

[ The R rating] was very disappointing. It’s interesting, because now it would practically be G, but at the time, the issue of teen suicide — there was a lot of fear about that. Doug Wick, producer

True: There was a publicity junket that they were only going to take the other three daughters to. At the time, 20 years ago, I was like, “Oh, it’s me, it’s me, it must be me.” And now I realize it wasn’t me — it was marketing. They didn’t truly think it was going to get a black audience is my guess. That would never happen today. If you have four leads in a movie, you will take all four leadings. But that’s something that people don’t quite understand. Its like, “Why do black people still whinge on about that? ” Well, because that stuck with me all these years, that for some reason I wasn’t as important. Now I did eventually get added to that junket because one of the other actresses said, “You should really bring her.” Then, the next year, Fairuza, Robin and Neve were all on the MTV Movie Awards and I was not. Granted, those girls had all worked more than me. At the time, I just said, “Oh, it’s probably because Fairuza’s known and Neve is on a TV show.” I’m kind of 50 -5 0 on it. It’s also that they were white.

Fleming: I think there was a lot of embarrassment about what the movie was until we had our first preview. When we did, I recollect showing up and there were all these very serious gothic proto-punk daughters, and I was like, “Oh, OK, I guess there’s an audience out there.” I merely recollect considering the trailer and thinking, “This is a remarkably good trailer.” That was arousing.

Shaver: It was a good opening, and I think we opened at Grauman’s and it was a big carry-on, good fun, good party, all of that.

Fleming: I remember Doug Wick telling me[ “The Graduate” director] Mike Nicholswas there, and that stimulated me really nervous. I was impressed by how many people assured the movie. Robin Tunney, a couple of years later, said she had a meeting with Sean Penn about a project and at the end of the session, she said, “How do you know my work? ” And he said, “From the witch movie! ”

Serna : I remember[ the premiere] because my grandfather was there. It was one of the last things he did with us in LA, and he loved “The Craft.” He was so moved by it. He was like 78 or 79. Strolling the red carpet for him was new. Wick : In words of the performances and working with the girls and the final shaping, Andy genuinely did an amazing undertaking. Because he was connecting to some real ache of his own, there was always an authenticity about the movie that is part of why it’s only had this ongoing following.

Dixon: It didn’t do fabulously at the movie theater, but in video rentals? Unreal.

Wick: And it has this massive presence on social media, which was completely unexpected. At the Hollywood Cemetery, a few years ago, they had a illustrate of “The Craft, ” and I went with my own daughters who were in their 20 s then — they had done a cameo in the movie on the bus, those three little blond innocent daughters with the witches sitting across from them. We all went together and it was so amazing. There were hundreds and hundreds of people all dressed up like their favorite character in “The Craft, ” but all patently in their teens and 20 s. Andy and I ran, and the actresses, except for Fairuza, who wasn’t around. Everyone[ believed] it was so great, because you work hard on a movie and they rarely just have an ongoing life like that.

Fleming: I wrote a sequel and I wrote a pilot based on the movie, neither of which came to pass. At some point, I simply needed to move on. I believe years had gone by and I had made another movie, and I think they had been trying to get a sequel running. I had an idea for it and I had a few drafts. The notion was that it was the school without those girls. It was the legacy of what those four daughters had done at the school.

True: I think we probably all had bargains in our contracts for a sequel, but that was more about locking you in at a price. That style, if the movie explosion, you couldn’t ask for more. But nothing ever happened with it. I have a love-hate thing with “Charmed” because that’s clearly a “Craft” rip-off. They utilized the same song and the same font. Also, leave it to Aaron Spelling to make them all sisters so they didn’t even have to have an ethnic character.

Fleming: I hope the reboot happens. Nothing would attain me happier.

Wick : It’s not so much a remaking — it’s sort of saying young women investigating their power, what would that be like right now? Plainly it’s an unbelievably relevant, arousing subject, so we hired a really great female novelist/ director, Leigh Janiak, who also has a talented penning partner. We were only going to explore it if there was an exciting way to run, and they came in with[ something] very fresh — a new group of daughters, much more of this epoch, who begin some explorations with power that they don’t understand. They had just incredibly compelling notions for a route to make a new, exciting, surprising movie for teenage girls.

The above quotes have been edited, condensed and arranged based on individual interviews conducted by The Huffington Post.

Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com

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Japans Terrible Anti-Terror Law Just Stimulated The Minority Report Reality

TOKYO–On Thursday morning, Japan’s deceptively dubbed “anti-terrorism” bill was steamrolled into law by its parliament, after the ruling alliance gutted standard legislative protocol, avoiding more embarrassing questions about the bill known as the “criminal-conspiracy law.” It stipulates 277 crimes that the police officers can apprehend people for planning, or simply discussing. Technically, because social media is covered in the legislation, even liking a related tweet or retweeting it could now be grounds for arrest on conspiracy charges.

Ironically , none of the 277 crimes “re going to have to” do with terrorism, despite the name of the law. However, if you were planning to hunting mushrooms illegally or stage a boat race without a license–well suppose again, evildoers. You’ll be stopped in your tracks.

The essence of the law is simple: It permits law-enforcers to arrest and prosecute the individuals who scheme and prepare crimes even if those crimes are not carried out. There are 277 specific crimes that can be prosecuted for conspiracy, and maybe even more if the law is loosely interpreted.

However, as the contents were debated in the parliament, it became clear that the legislation was not only scaring in the latitude it devotes police but also awfully written. Ministry of Justice officers admitted that people could be arrested and convicted for conspiring to illegally hunt mushrooms( forestry laws) or go fishing. Often they were stumped for answers. Japan’s Lawyer Federation also pointed out that other terrible crimes covered under the law include copyright violations–such as copying sheet music, or a sit-down protest resisting the building of a condominium.

Of course, we all know that music teachers, mushroom hunters, and anti-condominium revolutionaries are dangers to society, but do we need to proactively jail them? Yes, of course, we may need to. At least in Japan.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration shamelessly claimed the bill was necessary for Japan to comply with the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, a claim that U.N. experts ridiculed. The government then claimed it was needed to strengthen Japan’s counterterror measures before the 2020 Olympics. The legislation was originally dubbed the Criminal Conspiracy bill, but the name was changed to” Terrorism and Other Crime Preparations ,” ostensibly to make it sound more palatable. The original bill had over 600 crimes. But as the Japanese Federation of Lawyers pointed out,” Even with a change in name, the bill is just as flawed and dangerous .” However, the rebranding did help get more favorable answers in public-opinion polls conducted after the bill was resubmitted.

In many other countries, empowering police to arrest people on such a wide range of pretexts might not be so bad, but in Japan authorities can hold a suspect for as long as 23 days, with no right for the accused to have a lawyer present before the decision to file charges. For those indicted, the sentence rate is close to 99 percent.

Japanese legal expert Colin P.A. Jones noted in an op-ed,” During this period,[ the police] can question suspects from daybreak until twilight, with limited access to a lawyer. Moreover, although a suspect may be arrested for one crime, it may be a pretext for investigating another, leading to further arrests that restart the detention clock. Thus, without conspiracy being added to the mix, Japanese law-enforcement authorities already have broad powers to punish people they don’t like without ever putting them on trial .”

In 2015, after police arrested Mark Karpeles, the CEO of failed bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, on minor charges, he refused to confess to stealing its missing 650,000 divisions of the cryptocurrency( at current prices, around $16 billion ). Police then kept arresting him on separate charges, in hopes he’d crack. Eventually he was arrested and indicted so many times the presiding judge chewed out attorneys and ordered them to stop dragging out the detention.

If you think Japanese police won’t abuse their new powers, suppose again. They have a record of abusing the powers they already have . This includes apprehending club owners for permitting dancing after midnight. In January, the Saitama police arrested three anti-nuclear activists on bizarre charges. The alleged crime: Sharing the costs of a rental van for visiting meltdown-devastated Fukushima, which the police decided was ” operating an unlicensed taxi service .”

The Public Security Division of most Japanese police departments even has a jargon word for the last resort in arresting a suspected radical: “ korobikobou .” This essentially involves an officer bumping into a suspect and then apprehending them for obstruction of police performance of duties( Article 95 of the Criminal Code) and holding them in detention for as long as possible, interrogating them at leisure.

Giving police an arsenal of pretext to arrest anyone is a recipe for crushing civil liberties, as Joseph Cannataci, United Nations special rapporteur on the right to privacy, pointed out in his letter to the Abe administration warning of the dangers of the legislation. The new statute is remarkably similar to the 1925 Peace Preservation laws, which the fascist government of Japan are applied to round up its critics, all socialists, and war dissenters. When those laws were passed, just as they are now, the Japanese government claimed the laws would never be used to target ordinary citizens.

That was not the case.

The Abe administration, by the way, still categorizes the pacifist and populist Japanese Communist Party, which has large popular support, as a” dangerous group “– the kind of group these new conspiracy statutes will target. They’re about as dangerous as a schoolteacher. But at least the police will have some people to arrest.

The debate leading up to the passage of the bill had elements of dark slapstick or political travesty that induced both laughter and dumbfounded discouragement. Not only was debates of mushroom hunting as funding for terrorist activity ludicrous, but it was revealed that the usage of forged postage stamps could also be grounds for prosecution. Terrorists: Set away those rogue postcards.

There was scarcely a chance that the law wouldn’t be passed with the ruling alliance of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito having enough numbers to railroad the legislation into statute, as they have been doing since 2013. There were massive protests by not only the usual leftover liberal hippies but students and young people as well. None of it mattered.

In the end, Abe’s ruling coalition resorted to the almost-unprecedented tactic of bypassing committee-level approval of the bill in the upper home, cutting off further debate, and thwarted all attempts to block the bill. Ren Ho, the leader of Japan’s opposition party, accused the governmental forces of ramrodding the bill to cover up its” Kake Gakuen problem ,” which involves Abe’s alleged misuse of power in the licensing of a school.

Ren Ho jeered,” What’s the hurry? You don’t want us to bring up the Kake Gakuen scandal again? The style the bill is being rammed into law seems to represent the government’s wish to hurry up and aim the parliament session .”

Indeed the fight over the conspiracy law has at least temporarily slackened the issue of the Abe administration’s own alleged conspiring–reportedly to block investigations into its own corruption, hide official document, defame political opponents, and other scandals.

Abe cabinet officials also indicated Wednesday they intend to have the government employee( s) turned whistleblowers in the Kake Gakuen scandal arrested for violations of its civil servants act( disclosing confidential information ). Understanding Japanese law, people can’t be arrested for conspiring to blow the whistle on malfeasance by the government. However, it can only be a matter of time before telling the truth is tacked onto the listing or pre-crimes–or rather, conspiring to tell the truth. The best way to fight crimes is to make sure they never happen, of course. And that’s today’s minority report from Japan.

Read more: www.thedailybeast.com

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