A pilot based on the “Witch Mountain” film series has been greenlit at Disney+.
Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic World” series, “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 version of the franchise and follows “two teenagers who develop strange abilities and discover that 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 produce the pilot. John Fox and John Davis of Davis Entertainment are producing with Gary Marsh. The Disney Branded TV series is produced by ABC Signature.
This is the latest in a string of Disney projects for Howard, who has previously directed several episodes of the Disney+ series “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett” and starred in Disney films such as the live-action “Pete’s Dragon” . She is also attached to direct a reboot of “Flight of the Navigator” on Disney+ in what would be her screenwriting feature directorial debut.
The first “Escape to Witch Mountain” movie 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 in starring Johnson came out in 2009.
Howard will star in the pilot as Audrey, described as “Tia’s devoted and loving mother. Her husband died of a mental illness, and she tries to reassure a nervous Tia that she shows no signs of following her father’s dark spiral. A warm mama bear type, but like everyone in this town, not everything is what it seems.”
Gravitt will play Tia, who is said to be “a straight-A student who is seen by her classmates as ‘perfect,’ even though she sees herself as flawed.” Terrified of failure, she is plagued by nightmares and fears that her late father’s schizophrenia is starting to show in her. Tia has ‘hallucinations’ where people around her step outside their living bodies and express their deepest, darkest fears and desires and rages.”
Miller will play Ben, “a troubled teenager who makes ends meet by writing assignments for other students, but he has a hot temper and if he butchers another student, he will be expelled. Ben is best friends with Corey, his colleague at the diner. He has recently made a disturbing discovery about himself, he can force others around him to move according to his will, and that is something that inexplicably draws him in Tia’s direction.”
Norwood will play Corey. Corey is said to be “Ben’s closest friend, an outsider with tattoos. Corey is a very mature teenager who comes across as older than they are. They are one step away from expulsion and put more emphasis on looking like a My Chemical Romance song turned anime fan. Corey works at the local diner with 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 infatuated with Tia, but she is oblivious to his charm, and equally oblivious to his devotion. But when Tia expresses her concerns about the seemingly impossible events around them, she learns that Peter’s observant, cautious nature can be an asset in unraveling 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 represented by Innovative and Authentic Talent and Literary Management. Kelly is repped by Talent Works and 11:11 Entertainment.