Back in 2016, it was reported at the Cannes Film Festival that a remake of 1968's Witchfinder General was in the works with Nicolas Winding Refn (The Neon Demon) producing. Now, several years later at Cannes, the director for the remake has been revealed.
Deadline reports that John Hillcoat (The Road, Lawless, Triple 9) is on board to direct the Witchfinder General remake. A cast has yet to be assembled, but production is being planned to begin as early as this year.
Hillcoat will direct from a screenplay by Jon Croker (The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death), with Bynwr.com's Refn and Rupert Preston producing alongside Hillcoat’s Blank Films.
Here's what Refn had to say (via Deadline) about Hillcoat directing the remake:
"It is with extreme pleasure that both Rupert and I can incorporate John Hillcoat into our group as director for our production of Witchfinder General. It gives me enormous satisfaction to produce John’s vision and bring the retelling of this classic British film to a new audience."
Hillcoat also shared his excitement (via Deadline) for the reimagining of Witchfinder General:
"I am excited to work with fellow filmmaker Nic Refn, a maverick auteur and who, together with Rupert Preston, have been fully committed to independent cinema over the years. I’m drawn to the dynamic departures behind this remake. The idea of a world pushed to extremes where fear preys upon all, unleashing religious fanaticism, rival factions, tribalism, heretics, and witch hunts… feels strangely familiar in today’s world."
Directed by Michael Reeves and based on the real-life witch hunter Matthew Hopkins, the original Witchfinder General, aka The Conqueror Worm, starred Vincent Price as a British traveler in the 1600s who conjured up fear and condemned to death those he claimed were witches, ensuring his own financial gain at the expense of innocent lives.
Stay tuned to Daily Dead for more updates on the remake, and for those unfamiliar with the original Witchfinder General, we have the film's official synopsis and trailer below (via Scream Factory). Also, be sure to read Jonathan James' "Hexcellent Halloween" retrospective on the chilling relevance of the original movie.
“A 17th-century British witch hunter during the time of Cromwell’s reign travels the English countryside as he does his dirty work for the strict purpose of lining his pockets. Completely taking advantage of the civil strife, he terrorizes people and bends them to his will, forcing confessions from witches” until a military officer risks treason to seek revenge against him.”
John Hillcoat on the set of The Road: