There are Halloween movies, and then there are Halloween movies – and we can all agree that Hocus Pocus was the Halloween movie to beat. Starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Majimy, the 1993 film is centered around a group of kids who bring an evil coven of child-hungry witches known as the Sanderson sisters back to life after they’ve been dead for centuries. With the help of a reincarnated cat known as Thackery Binx, Max, Allison, and Max’s little sister Dani work to put the witches back where they belong.
There’s only one problem – what happens when a group of curious teens summons them back by lighting the forbidden black flame candle?
Starring HBO Max’s Gossip Girl star Whitney Peak as Becca, the highly-anticipated Hocus Pocus 2 centers around a group of three young teens who accidentally bring back Winifred, Mary, and Sarah Sanderson and must use their heads to defeat them once again. When she got the audition, the Ugandan-Canadian actress was up for the challenge of starring in the cult-favorite fantasy-comedy sequel, but she had to come clean about tiny detail.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 27: Whitney Peak and Belissa Escobedo attend the Hocus Pocus 2 World Premiere at AMC Lincoln Square on September 27, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Disney)
“To be honest with you, every single time I’ve said this in any interview, I have an overwhelming sense of shame, but I actually didn’t watch Hocus Pocus until I got the audition for it,” the 19-year-old actress revealed to Girls United. While she said that she’s “healing” and reeling from her sense of shame for not being an original die-hard Hocus Pocus fan, Peak admitted to finally understanding how important the movie truly was to millennial cinematic Halloween culture.
“I watched the movie when I got the audition and then I auditioned for it, and I don’t think it actually hit me how big of a deal it is until the premiere last night,” Peak added. “You walked onto the carpet and along the sidelines was just like a ton of people just dressed in the costumes, full makeup, and the wigs. It was just so incredible, and it was really just kind of like wow. I just didn’t really wrap my head around the fact that it was such a big deal.”
Ahead of the official premiere of Hocus Pocus 2 on Disney+, Peak spoke with Girls United about her favorite on-set filming memories, her favorite Disney Channel Original Halloween movies, and more.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 27: Whitney Peak attends the Hocus Pocus 2 World Premiere at AMC Lincoln Square on September 27, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Disney)
Girls United: Between Hocus Pocus and Hocus Pocus 2, how does the sequel bridge the gap for millennials and Gen-Zers?
Whitney Peak: “I think what we managed to share between the two are its sense of fun and its lightness. Even though it is technically a Halloween movie, which is a kind of typically scarier genre, it’s a lot more entertaining and funny. It doesn’t really give you that kind of anxiety that horror movies tend to give me, or Halloween movies tend to give me. I think we managed to kind of carry that same authenticity from the original movie into the new one. As far as making it contemporary and Gen Z behind the scenes, having it be really female-led and a lot of women in the movie in the production of it all, it felt really comfortable. Female director, female writer, female producer, and then of course our three leading ladies, and then myself, Melissa, and Lilia. It felt just like a lot of love. You walked in on set and whatever your issues, wherever you were at that day, it felt like a safe space to share that and to find safety, like a middle ground.”
GU: What were some of your personal favorite Disney Channel Halloween movies?
Peak: “See, my thing was when I moved to Canada is when I really started to watch Disney Channel. My mom and I also started celebrating [Halloween] kind of yearly because I would see kids at school and it became a thing at school and I’d have to get a costume. We [integrated it] into our family tradition a little bit, but it was never really as big a deal as it was in the movies that I saw. I would watch definitely Twitches and Twitches 2, the Halloweentown series – all of it; I just could never watch anything that was too scary. I just get so anxious. I love movies that are predictable and you can kind of always tell where they’re going to go, that are just kind of fun and just make you feel good and that are comfortable, so I never really watched horror movies.
“I’m just so gullible with jump scares. Even in Hocus Pocus 2 when we were watching it yesterday, there [were] scenes that I was in and that I knew were coming. When we were running away and they were performing, Izzy goes, ‘Who are they performing for?,’ and then [Sarah Jessica Parker] just jumps out at us and goes, ‘You.’ I was taken aback. I’m just too easy when it comes to that stuff. I just need to get better.”
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 27: Whitney Peak, hair detail, attends Disney’s “Hocus Pocus 2” premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on September 27, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
GU: Why is it important for you as a Black girl to be a protagonist in not only the resurgence of Hocus Pocus 2, but just, in general, being a boss Black girl in a scary movie that does not die?
Peak: “Yo, it’s weird. It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that I’m in the movie in the first place. Taking into account who I am, my roots, where I come from and where I am now, and to be able to have this and have hopefully younger kids who look like me or see themselves in my position, in this movie, or just in this world is really exciting. I’m very, very grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to do that. I think that’s kind of where it starts to get hazy because it’s such a bizarre idea to even try to begin to comprehend or come to terms with.”
Check out the official trailer for Hocus Pocus 2 on Disney+ starring Whitney Peak, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Majimy below!
Photo Credit: NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 27: Whitney Peak attends the Hocus Pocus 2 World Premiere at AMC Lincoln Square on September 27, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Disney)
About D’Shonda: Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, D’Shonda Brown is the Associate Editor at Girls United. When she’s not interviewing or writing, she enjoys running, dancing, buying sneakers, and binge-watching Lifetime movies.