Studded with enviable ’90s fashion, snarky one-liners and female fantasies made manifest, The Craft was a rallying point for a generation of teen girls compelled by its cool allure and witchy wonder. The horror-thriller starred Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, and Rachel True as a coven of teen witches who learned lessons about friendship, forgiveness, self-love and revenge, and inspired way too many of us to go Hot Topic-level goth.
The Craft made such a big impression that twenty years later, a remake/sequel is in the works. Producer Douglas Wick told HitFix that the untitled follow-up film is part sequel, part remake, explaining it’s set 20 years after the events that landed Nancy in restraints. He shared:
“There will be callbacks to the original movie, so you will see there is a connection between what happened in the days of The Craft, and how these young women come across this magic many years later…the same way you use a war movie to explore the psyche of men, you get to create a heightened world to explore the psyche of these women.”
How the premise will be appropriately updated for modern audiences remains a mystery, but one sign of progress is that a female writer/director has been brought in. Leigh Janiak, who won praise for the Rose Leslie-fronted horror thriller Honeymoon, will helm, and is co-writing The Craft sequel with her penning partner Phil Graziedi. Considering the cerebral and surreal brand of terror they brought to that praised pic, we anticipate some deliciously dark turns in this new Craft. But who should star?
The original film cast starlets on the rise. True was a TV actress who’d popped up on Beverly Hills 90210, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Family Matters. Campbell was known for the TV drama Party of Five. The child star of Return To Oz, Balk was making the transition to more mature fare with racier roles in the romantic drama Valmont and the bonkers Island of Dr. Moreau. And Tunney had just wrapped on Empire Records (hence that obvious wig). So, who are the emerging ingenues we could dream of seeing as the new Craft coven?
Let’s conjure up some casting.
How heartbreaking was is to hear a shaking Neve whisper, “Take my scars! Take my scars!”? While that exact plot element won’t likely be repeated, it’s easy to imagine one of the coven will be similarly striving to feel comfortable in her own skin, as most teen girls are. And who better to manage that turn than Academy Award-nominated Hailee Steinfeld? In the musical drama Begin Again she played a teen struggling with confidence. Then she kicked off her blossoming music career with a rousing anthem of self-love. Yet she’s not too big for an ensemble movie, as Pitch Perfect 2 proved.
Racism was Rochelle’s nemesis in the 1996 movie. But I suspect that Sony might want to shy away from the topic considering the tone of this election year. Perhaps instead, prejudice could be explored through a LGBTAQ character in The Craft 2.0? And wouldn’t it be an absolute coup if the producers not only picked a promising young actress, but also an outspoken activist for such a role? With this dreamy possibility in mind, I recommend The Hunger Games Amandla Stenberg, the enchanting ingenue who is squadding with Beyoncé on Lemonade when she’s not speaking out about cultural misappropriation and gay rights.
Perhaps the most intimidating role to take on would be the new Nancy. Played by Balk, this bad girl was so much more than a villain, she was the cool girl so many of us aspired to be. So who best to take on the 2016 version of that? How about the Dope scene-stealer with a sharp wit, a wicked smirk and scads of style? Kiersey Clemons is drawing buzz from her supporting role in the upcoming comedy Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, but it’s about time she was given the chance to step out of the shadows and shine full blast. Clemons has the energy and charisma that’s demanded to make the new Nancy a bold baddie.
Who should be the defiant hero of our new Craft? I call on the Guardians of the Watchtowers of the North, South, East and West to recognize the natural verve of Rowan Blanchard. The Girl Meets World star brings a mix of vulnerability and resilience to the screen that’s key to Sarah. And IRL, Blanchard doesn’t back down to bullies, speaking out about feminism like a boss. Obviously getting a cast that’s talented and charming is paramount. But if we can bring in talent who are role models on and offscreen, all the better.
In the comments, tell us who you’d like to see in The Craft sequel, and what kind of teen witch they should play.
Kristy Puchko is a loud and proud weirdo. 20 years and counting.