Since breaking out as awkward teen Princess Mia in 2001’s The Princess Diaries, Anne Hathaway has continued to make a name for herself with nearly two decades’ worth of “nice girl” roles, with only a handful of edgy outliers. Now, however, she’s ready to go full villain: According to Variety, she’s officially signed on to play the Grand High Witch of All the World (aka Eva Ernst) in the upcoming film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1983 novel The Witches.
The new adaptation—Dahl’s novel was previously put on the big screen in 1990—will be helmed by Forrest Gump director Robert Zemeckis, who is also writing the script. Zemeckis will also serve as producer, along with his ImageMovers partner Jack Rapke, plus Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro. Per Variety, the new film will stick much closer to Dahl’s original text; the late author was famously disappointed with the 1990 version, which was a looser retelling of The Witches.
Hathaway is stepping into a pair of supremely witchy shoes previously filled by Anjelica Huston; it’s still unknown who will round out the rest of the witch convention, though Deadline reports that Viola Davis has been “circling” the project. Both the book and the 1990 film tell the story of a young boy who stumbles upon a convention of children-hating witches—staying at a hotel under the guise of the “Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children”—and takes on the burden of ridding the world of their evil.
As the Grand High Witch, Hathaway will play the most anti-kid witch of the entire convention since, after all, she’s the one who spearheads the development of the potion that will turn all children into mice. She’ll also likely get to sport a face full of impressively gruesome prosthetics: As seen in the 1990 film, Huston’s normal, human face served as the Grand High Witch’s alter ego Eva Ernst, but is soon peeled off to uncover a more stereotypically witchy complexion, as seen below. If you thought Hathaway chopping off her own hair onscreen in Les Mis was dramatic, just you wait until she rips off her own skin to reveal the demon underneath.