Q&A: The New Incantation of Hocus Pocus 2 With Belissa Escobedo

Behind the Scenes of the Spooky, Funny Sequel to the 29-Year-old Cult Classic Disney Film
Belissa Escobedo is one of the new faces in Hocus Pocus 2, who along with her friends needs to help stop the Sanders sisters on another Halloween night full of magic and hijinks. Photo Credit: Timothy Fernandez

Arturo Hilario
El Observador

Actress Belissa Escobedo grew up watching the original Hocus Pocus every Halloween, just like many children have since the now iconic Halloween classic premiered on home video after its initial disastrous theatrical release in 1993.

At the time, the film left theaters with a quiet whimper, but with the release to home video, time and appreciation accumulated, transforming the film’s identity from nearly forgotten and peculiar 90’s movie to a beloved cult classic and one of Disney’s most popular properties.

Now in 2022, returning like they never left, the Sanderson sisters, played by the incredible Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, return to cause havoc in Salem for one more night with new showtunes, hilarity and the special touch of Halloween magic that made the original so great.

As the new generation of kids who have to save a town from ancient witches, Escobedo recently had the chance to talk to us about the new sequel, what it was like for her to work with the legendary actors of the original movie she grew up watching, and how it feels to know she has become part of the Hocus Pocus story.

Hocus Pocus 2 is now streaming exclusively on Disney+.

So, to start off, was Hocus Pocus was one of the movies that you would watch as a child growing up?

Yeah, we watch it every single Halloween. It’s my mom and I’s favorite movie. I think I was probably watching it as a baby, I just don’t remember. Very fond memories of it, it reminds me of Halloween and fall and family.

How does it feel to be part of the story’s continuation now and knowing that you’ll be part of other people’s Halloween memories and traditions from now on?

It’s crazy to think about it. I love this franchise so much and to be in this world is awesome. To be involved in people’s Halloween traditions, I have such fond memories of it so it feels really special to be included in that.

Could you talk a little bit about your character of Izzy and what her role is in this story?

Yeah, she’s one of the three girls who accidently resurrect the Sanderson sisters and then has to work on saving Salem and her friends. She’s a very funny character, she’s always trying to find the bright side of things, the funny side of things and she loves her friends, she’d do anything for them.

And what was it like for you and your fellow actors coming in as the new cast members to work alongside the original cast including Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy?

Definitely scary. They’re such talented, respect artists and so to share a space with them is such an honor. So I think we were all nervous, but also really excited. It was an awesome, once in a lifetime experience.

Overall, how do you feel about this movie making experience?

I think it was a great one. You know, it was awesome. It was surreal, and we had a great crew and a great director. Great cast all around, it was a fond memory making it.

Definitely. And if you could pick from each movie, do you have a favorite scene or moment from either one?

From the first one I think it has to be the bus scene when they’re first stepping on the road, that one’s so good. And I think from this movie, my favorite scene, one of them has to be the Walgreens scene, where the witches walk into the Walgreens. I think those two scenes are so funny.

Finally, why would you recommend people check out this continuation of the beloved original?

I think if you love the Sanderson sisters, which who doesn’t? and you love musical numbers, and laughs and all things Halloween, I think this is definitely a movie to watch. You know we’ve got two musical numbers in this and it’s so good and so entertaining and it has so many funny new characters, new backstory. There’s just a lot of stuff in there that I think the fans will enjoy.

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