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Robert Zemeckis reportedly set to direct new version of Roald Dahl’s The Witches

The Back to the Future director is in final talks with Warner Bros according to studio sources.

Robert Zemeckis
Robert Zemeckis

American filmmaker Robert Zemeckis is reportedly set to direct a new film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s novel The Witches.

Zemeckis, whose previous work includes the Back To The Future trilogy and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, is in final talks with Warner Bros studio to take the helm.

According to entertainment trade publication Variety, studio sources are expecting a deal to be confirmed shortly.

Zemeckis will not only direct but is also expected to write the film’s script with regular collaborator Jack Rapke.

Director Robert Zemeckis
Director Robert Zemeckis’ previous work includes the Back to the Future trilogy. (Ian West/PA)

Academy Award-winning director Guillermo Del Toro was long connected to the film, but was left unable to direct due to scheduling conflicts.

It is now understood that he and fellow Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) will now be attached to the movie as producers.

Dahl’s dark fantasy book tells the story of a young British boy who goes to live with his Norwegian grandmother after his parents are killed in a car accident.

After being enthralled by his grandmother’s stories about witches he then has real-life encounters with them. The novel won the Whitbread Book Award when it was published in 1983.

The story was previously adapted for the big screen by Warners Bros in 1990. The film was directed by Nicholas Roeg and starred Anjelica Huston as The Grand High Witch.

The original film was well-received by critics upon release and boasts a rare 100% rating on the aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes.

However, Dahl was said to be unhappy that the Jim Henson Company-produced film’s ending was different to his book’s.

Zemeckis’ upcoming fantasy film Welcome To Marwen stars Anchorman Steve Carell and will be released by Universal Pictures in November.

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