‘The Witches’: Anne Hathaway reveals the stunning origin of her magnificent excessive witch accent
There are a number of entertaining elements Robert Zemeckis‘Play from Roald DahlThe Witches, but if I had to recommend the film for one reason and only one reason, it would be to see Anne Hathaway as the Grand High Witch. Following in the footsteps of Anjelica Huston, who iconized the role in the 1990 film, Hathaway appears as the leader of a group of witches who gather at a hotel to learn about their new scheme. She plans to use a “mouse maker” potion to turn children into mice.
With the film, now available for streaming on HBO Max, I had the opportunity to speak with Hathaway about her experience putting together her take on the Grand High Witch. Not only did Hathaway discuss the character’s appearance and experience with face shapes, but he also revealed how they settled on that particular accent. She began:
“It took a minute! You know, we explored so many different sounds because I really wanted to respect what Roald Dahl had written and all those syllables. But I’m just trying to find out where the vowels live … “
Hathaway paused to warn that the process might seem “theatrical” and not overly exciting, but given the sky-high curiosity about this element of the film, I disagree! And it turns out the source of the last Grand High Witch accent is mightily intriguing:
“My direct trainer, Joan Washington and I, tried Norwegian and Swedish and they all sounded a little light, a little contemporary, and then it was Joan’s idea to say, ‘Well, all Scandinavian accents are Nordic, maybe we can see if we can find an example of Old Norse. ‘And then we found this poetry professor reciting Nordic poetry on the internet, and Joan made a dialect out of it, and now he’s in a movie! “
If you’d like to hear more from Hathaway about her experience at The Witches and the advice she would give to Zoe Kravitz or anyone who goes on to play Catwoman, check out the full chat at the top of this article!
- Has the look of the Grand High Witch changed a lot from day one to the last movie?
- What was it like going through the face shaping process? Has Hathaway ever heard the story of Jeff Daniels?
- Hathaway shows how they found the right accent for the character.
- Hathaway gives some advice to Zoe Kravitz or anyone who plays Catwoman.