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Most Iconic Scene From ‘Hocus Pocus’ Was Completely Improvised!

Hocus Pocus calming circle improvised
Credit: Disney

In 1992, Disney released what would become one of its most popular Halloween movies of all time.¬†Hocus Pocus¬†was not a hit when it was initially released — most likely because it came out in the summer — but now, people can’t get enough.¬†Hocus Pocus¬†has become so popular that, in 2022, Disney released the highly anticipated sequel, Hocus Pocus 2. And there is even a Hocus Pocus 3¬†in the works!

Hocus Pocus returns to theaters

Credit: Disney

Related:¬†Rosie O’Donnell Reveals She Turned Down Iconic Hocus Pocus Role

Hocus Pocus¬†starred Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker as Winifred, Mary, and Sarah Sanderson. The Sanderson sisters were hanged in Salem in the 1690s but were brought back to life 300 years later when virgin Max Dennison lit the Black Flame Candle. In order to remain young and alive forever, the Sanderson sisters must suck the lives out of the children of Salem. Of course, Max, his sister Dani, and his love interest Allison, can’t let that happen.

Hocus Pocus Omri Katz Thora Birch Vinessa Shaw

Credit: Disney

Related: Hocus Pocus Theory Claims That Unlikely Character is Actually a Witch!

Hocus Pocus is full of memorable and hilarious scenes, but one of the most popular may be when Mary Sanderson (Kathy Najimy) tells her sisters that they should form a calming circle. Winifred tries to tell her that she IS CALM (but thou is not being honest with thyself). They need to remain as calm as possible if they want to successfully brew the life potion and feed it to all the children.

Hocus Pocus calming circle

Credit: Disney

Now, director Kenny Ortega has revealed that the entire scene was improvised — and thought of by Kathy Najimy. In an interview with¬†Entertainment Weekly, Ortega tells how the entire scene came to be.

Ortega recalls Najimy “pulling them in, [saying that] it’s time for a calming circle,” and that Midler and Parker “came in and took the deep breaths” to follow Najimy’s lead.

Ortega remembers the cast as “improvisational geniuses” who elaborated on the material written for them in Mick Garris and Neil Cuthbert’s screenplay.

“We honored the writing, and then we had a party,” says Ortega, who also says that the iconic walk the sisters perform while scouring the streets of Salem also came to them on set.

“That evolved out of [us being] there, they needed to move from point A to point B, and that just sort of happened. There were a number of moments like that throughout the film, where we were just surprised with how ideas just arrived,” he explains. “I think [we created] a set that allowed everybody to have some fun and be experimental and non-judgmental and just let things play out.”

The calming circle was not the only memorable thing that Najimy added to the legendary film. The actress also said that she was the one who came up with Mary’s signature crooked mouth.

As viewers may have noticed, in¬†Hocus Pocus 2, Mary’s crooked smile had switched sides. But it wasn’t because Najimy forgot which side it was supposed to be on. She explained that a lot of time had passed since the original film — which came out in 1993. She had gotten older and found that she could not maintain the look on the original side, so she had to switch things up.

Mary Mouth Hocus Pocus 2

Credit: Disney

Related: Hocus Pocus Fans, You NEED This New LEGO Set!

Of course, she couldn’t just change things up. Early on in the sequel, there is a scene where Winifred slaps Mary, and the cook in her mouth switches to the other side. Boom! Problem fixed! It also gave viewers something to talk about.

At this time, we do not know if Mary, Winifred, and Sarah Sanderson will return for the third film, although the actresses have said that it is unlikely. However, it is expected that Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo, and Lilia Buckingham will reprise their roles as Becca, Izzy, and Cassie, respectively. The three young women portrayed teenage friends who must deal with the witches when they bring them back a second time.

Hocus Pocus 2

Credit: Disney

Both Hocus Pocus and Hocus Pocus 2 are currently available to stream on Disney+.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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