Principal photography for “Man & Witch,” an homage to the fantasy films of the 1980s, has wrapped after a six-week shoot on location in Scotland and Los Angeles.
The film, directed by Michael Hines (“Still Game”) marks the comeback of child star Tami Stronach, best known for her role as the Childlike Empress in “The NeverEnding Story” (1984). Stronach plays the title role of Witch who helps a cursed goatherd (Greg Steinbruner, who also wrote the screenplay) in his quest for love. Sean Astin (“Stranger Things”), Jennifer Saunders (“Absolutely Fabulous”), Eddie Izzard (“Hannibal”) 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: A Star Wars Story”).
The cast also includes Christopher Lloyd (“Back to the Future”), Shorhreh Aghdashloo (“The Expanse”), Michael Emerson (“Lost”), Pauline McLynn (“Gameface”), Daniel Portman (“Game of Thrones”), comedian Reginald D. Hunter, Stuart Bowman (“Versailles”), Martha West (“The Pursuit of Love”) and professional dancer and choreographer Giovanni Pernice (“Strictly Come Dancing”).
The film is produced by Paper Canoe Company in conjunction with Scottish producer Angela Murray. Executive producers are Sam Williams, Tom Carroll, Greg Steinbruner and Tami Stronach. The production is currently exploring distribution arrangements for a worldwide release in late 2021 or early 2022.
Stronach said: “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. 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.”
“People ask us how we assembled such an incredible cast and creative team for the film, and the answer is actually pretty simple: we sent them the script,” Steinbruner added. “The comment I’ve gotten over and over is ‘This is amazing. Why aren’t people making movies like this anymore?’ If you don’t have 100 million to put into CGI, you just have to focus on telling a great story instead. And if you do tell a good story, it turns out, that’s what great actors are all looking to work on. I’m incredibly excited and humbled that so many icons – lifelong heroes of mine – came together to bring the world of ‘Man & Witch’ to life.’