A pilot based on the “Witch Mountain” film franchise has been greenlit at Disney+.
Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic World” franchise, “Rocketman”) will lead the cast of the pilot, with Isabel Gravitt (“The Watcher”), Levi Miller (“Streamline”), Bianca “b” Norwood (“WeCrashed”) and Jackson Kelly (“Straight Man”) also set as series regulars.
The project is described as a modern take on the franchise and follows “two teens that develop strange abilities and discover their sleepy suburb may not be as idyllic as it seems.”
Travis Fickett and Terry Matalas co-wrote the pilot and are executive producers. Augustine Frizzell will direct and executive produce the pilot. John Fox and John Davis of Davis Entertainment are executive producing along with Gary Marsh. The Disney Branded Television series is produced by ABC Signature.
This marks the latest in a string of Disney projects for Howard, who has previously directed multiple episodes of the Disney+ series “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett” and starred in Disney films like the live-action “Pete’s Dragon.” She is also attached to direct a reboot of “Flight of the Navigator” at Disney+ in what would be her scripted feature directorial debut.
The first “Escape to Witch Mountain” film was released in 1975, based on the 1968 book of the same name, followed by two sequels in 1978 and 1982. A made-for-TV remake was released in 1995, while a reboot starring Dwayne Johnson came out in 2009.
Howard will star in the pilot as Audrey, described as “Tia’s devoted and loving mother. Her husband died from a mental illness and she tries to reassure a fretful Tia that she shows no sign of following her father’s dark spiral. A warm mama bear type, but like everyone in this town, not everything is as it seems.”
Gravitt will play Tia, said to be “a straight-A student who’s regarded by her classmates as ‘perfect,’ although she regards herself as flawed. She’s terrified of failure and is plagued by nightmares and fears that her late father’s schizophrenia is starting to exhibit itself in her. Tia has ‘hallucinations’ in which people around her step outside their living bodies and voice their deepest, darkest fears and desires and rages.”
Miller will play Ben, “a troubled teen who makes ends meet by writing papers for other students but he’s got a hot temper and if he slugs another student, he’ll be expelled. Ben is best friends with Corey, his co-worker at the diner. He’s recently made a troubling discovery about himself, he can force others in his vicinity to move according to his will and there’s something drawing him inexplicably in the direction of Tia.”
Norwood will play Corey. Corey is said to be “Ben’s closest friend, an outsider with tattoos. Corey is a very mature teen who comes across older than they are. They are one step away from expulsion and puts more care into looking like a My Chemical Romance song that became an anime fan. Corey works at the local diner alongside Ben and is in his circle of trust, but doesn’t appreciate it when he tries to act as their protector.”
Kelly stars as Peter, Tia’s closest male friend. “Peter is lovesick on the subject of Tia, but she’s unaware of his charms, and equally unaware of his devotion. But when Tia expresses her concerns about the seemingly impossible happenings around them, she learns that Peter’s observant, cautious nature might be an asset in figuring out the mystery around them.”
Howard is repped by Entertainment 360, WME, and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole. Gravitt is repped by Buchwald and Randy James Management. Miller is repped by Verve, Rogue Management in the UK, Eaton Management in Australia, and attorneys Fred Toczek and Jared Bloc. Norwood is repped by Innovative and Authentic Talent and Literary Management. Kelly is repped by Talent Works and 11:11 Entertainment.