In the tradition of Disney live-action comedy classics, three 17th century witches (BETTE MIDLER, SARAH JESSICA PARKER, KATHY NAJIMY) are in for a devil of a time when their restless spirits are accidentally conjured up on Halloween Night, in present-day Salem, Massachusetts. Banished 300 years ago for practicing their sorcery, this trio of triple-threat demons vowed to one day reappear — and now theyâ€™re back â€“ weaving an outrageous web of comedy and chaos.
Hungry to pick up where they left off, this tricky trio must surmount still one more hurdle in order to guarantee their immortality. However, the things they need are the same things that stand in their way: Young Max Dennison (OMRI KATZ) , his little sister Dani (THORA BIRCH) , and the beautiful Allison (VINESSA SHAW) , three kids with the power to make or break the witchâ€™s spell.
In the meantime, with eye of newt, toe of frog, wool of bat, and tongue of dog (and a talking cat named Binx) , this newly materialized mÃ©nage are brewing the perfect recipe for fun and excitement as they plot to bring the whole town of Salem under their dubious spell, in Walt Disney Picturesâ€™ new live-action comedy/adventure â€œHocus Pocus.â€
A Walt Disney Pictures presentation, â€œHocus Pocusâ€ is directed by Kenny Ortega from a screenplay by Mick Garris and Neil Cuthbert and a story by David Kirschner and Mick Garris. The producers are David Kirschner and Steven Haft. The co-producer is Bonnie Bruckheimer. Ralph Winter serves as the executive producer and Mick Garris the co-executive producer. Buena Vista Pictures distributes.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Storytelling is a staple of producer David Kirschnerâ€™s family activities. As he explains, â€œAll my films start out as anecdotes for my kids. Iâ€™m forever telling them legends and lore.â€
The gestation for â€œHocus Pocusâ€ also began this way. One night, Kirschner and his young daughter were sitting outside their home watching neighborhood activity, when Sam, a neighborâ€™s black cat strayed by. Then and there Kirschner began to unspool a narrative of how Sam the cat was once a boy who was changed into a feline.
â€œMy daughter was spellbound. â€˜How did that happen?â€™ she asked. I contrived that 300 years ago a young boy was trying to protect his little sister from three witches who then cast a hex on him. The story terrified and delighted her.â€
The rapt attention of Kirschnerâ€™s daughter led him to embellish the idea into a treatment for a feature film. The story of three witches, three children and a talking cat named Binx sprang forth and came to life.
Director Kenny Ortega, the talented director/choreographer who recently directed Walt Disney Picturesâ€™ live-action musical â€œNewsies,â€ and choreographed Michael Jacksonâ€™s â€œDangerousâ€ tour, was the perfect choice to helm this outrageous roller coaster ride of a story.
As producer Steven Haft recalls his first impressions of the director, â€œI met Kenny soon after I read the script. After spending three hours with him it was clear why he was selected for this film and how vast his contributions were going to be. Kenny is a masterful choreographer, and as a director, he has the sense of movement of Gene Kelly or Stanley Donen. I think he combines that with the visual imagination of director Bob Zemeckis and a brilliant sense of comedy. An important reason I accepted this project was Kenny Ortega.â€
Mr. Ortega, who shares a fascination for the myths and imagery of Halloween with many of those involved in the production, was also drawn to the project because it meant he would have the opportunity to work with Bette Midler again. â€œWe worked together years ago on â€˜The Rose.â€™ I love her voice, her personality and that core that just makes her Bette Midler. When I was told Bette was going to do â€˜Hocus Pocusâ€™ I became very interested in directing this film.â€
Sister sorceresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy were both long-time Midler fans and acknowledge that a major incentive for them to do this film was the chance to work with the â€œDivine Miss M.â€ â€œSheâ€™s an idol of mine,â€ says Najimy. Parker agrees, â€œI didnâ€™t even have to look at the text of the script to know that I wanted to do this film because it was a chance to work closely with Bette.â€
And so the three women came together for a six-week rehearsal period prior to the start of principal photography, to brew their own blend of acting magic. As Kenny Ortega observes, â€œThey compliment each other in so many ways. Kathy is a wonderful improv actor. She brings confidence to everything and excites everyone around her. She and Bette fuel each other. Sarah Jessica Parker is subtle and magical. Sheâ€™s a balance for the threesome and lots of fun. Bette is amazing. She works so hard to be prepared and gives every scene her all.â€
Choreographer Peggy Holmes worked closely with the actresses to create their physical movements, the manner in which they would interact with one another, and the way they would â€œfly.â€ Each actress flew â€œin character,â€ Holmes explains. â€œWinifred [Midler] is in charge and much more aggressive than the other two. Sheâ€™s always leading the way and looking for children. Sarah [Parker] loves to fly. Sheâ€™s always lifting up her mop and canâ€™t wait to get up in the air, whereas Mary [Najimy] is more cautious. Like a good driver, she signals with her hand. Mary is the safe and steady flier.â€
The filmmakers and the actresses worked together sifting through books, illustrations, history, and anywhere they might find inspiration for the characters. â€œThe witches were born out of a lot of fun research,â€ notes director Ortega, â€œfrom cartoons to storybooks to fabulous men and women, real and fictitious, throughout time. Each actress found something unique and original to bring to her character.â€
Kathy Najimy explains, â€œMary is really Eddie Haskell as a witch,â€ she says, referring to the obsequious character on the classic television series â€œLeave it to Beaver.â€ â€œShe sucks up to Winifred every chance she gets. She wants to be part of the power club and Winifredâ€™s got the power. Maryâ€™s talent is her sense of smell. Her father was a bloodhound. She was ashamed of this at first but with the help of support groups for adult children of dogs she is now proud to be different,â€ the actress jokes.
â€œMy idea for Mary was to make her immediately identifiable,â€ continues Najimy. â€œSarahâ€™s hair is long and blonde, and Winifred had a great big pile of red hair. Because of my keen sense of smell, there had to be something distinguished about my face, so we put an extension on my nose to make it more pronounced. But I wanted the audience to see Maryâ€™s shadow and know it was her. One day during rehearsals I saw a pumpkin that someone in the art department had made. It had a great stem that was big on the bottom and curled up like a decrepit branch at the top, ending with a twist. I thought â€˜thereâ€™s my hair!.â€™ Now I have a great twisting purple wig that looks like itâ€™s a branch growing out of my head with spiders and dirt.â€
Bette was very serious in her approach to playing Winifred, which turned out to be an amalgam of Cruella De Vil meets the Queen of Hearts from â€œAlice in Wonderland.â€ She was looking for a signature witch, different from the classic 17th century sorceresses of legend and lore; a concept all her own that no one had ever seen before. With an assortment of different noses and chins, she tested warts and eyebrows and searched through nearly every book that exists about witches. After sifting through untold numbers of photos of stage and screen witches, she finally arrived at her ideal.
Sarah Jessica Parkerâ€™s challenge in creating the character of Sarah Sanderson came when it was time to find a voice. â€œIt would have been inexcusable to use my regular voice because these are such fantasy characters and thereâ€™s nothing about them thatâ€™s real. I loved the idea of being able to create Sarah. It was liberating. I felt the character wasnâ€™t me, it was someone entirely different and so I wasnâ€™t at all embarrassed about trying things out.
â€œOf course the Friday before we started shooting arrived and I still hadnâ€™t found a voice. For a while I wanted to do an English boy, a take-off on Dana Carvey impersonating George Michael. So I tried it out but no one was particularly excited about it. I liked the idea of Marilyn Monroe but that voice was too whispery. I wanted Sarah to be a bit like the Shakespeare nymphs, with a little Lolita and a bit of half-wit thrown in. I came up with the voice and once we started shooting there was no going back.â€
Central to the witches appearance are their costumes. Designer Mary Vogt began her research early on. She recalls, â€œI read many books about Salem, Massachusetts, in the time of our story. I even read diaries of women who were hanged as witches. I went on to read fairy tales and that is where our real inspiration came from; stories like â€˜Sleepy Hollowâ€™ and Grimmâ€™s fairy tales. I read these to get the feeling of fantasy. The first thing Kenny and I decided was that the women should wear colors instead of the typical puritanical black. Because the film is a fairy tale and a fantasy we wanted it to be lively and colorful.
â€œWe decided that Betteâ€™s character, Winifred, was a timeless, medieval magician. She is dressed in a deep velvet green with a purple lining and various symbols embossed on the gown. She has striped tights and layers of silk around her.
â€œSarah was more like Shakespeareâ€™s Ophelia, floating around, child-like, slightly mad. Her clothes are fluid, sexy and lighter. I looked at pictures of early 20th century dancers such as Agnes DeMille, Isadora Duncan and Ruth St. Denis to get an idea of how she might look.
â€œKathy Najimyâ€™s character, Mary, was the opposite of that. I pictured her an herbalist, staying home cooking and concocting potions. She is dressed in earthy colors with rings on her belt where, I imagined, she could hang herbs or dead rodents for her most recent brew.â€
In addition to three fabulous witches the script also called for three young actors who were able not only to work along side Bette, Sarah and Kathy, but could also carry a good portion of the story on their own as they try to save the children of Salem from the wicked witches. Director Ortega clearly remembers the casting process. â€œThora Birch was one of the top five children in her age group. We didnâ€™t see many kids for the role of Dani. She is a very dynamic little girl and once we met her, we knew she was our Dani. Then we had to find her a brother. We needed someone strong enough to hold the screen with her. We saw over 600 boys. It was like â€˜Newsiesâ€™ all over again. We came close a couple of times and actually passed over Omri Katz at one point. He was sick during his first audition and a sparkle was missing from him. He recovered and came back a second time and we were absolutely sure he was right for the role of Max. Vinessa was also chosen for the part of Allison after a long process. We were really fortunate to end up with a strong ensemble of young actors. Thora and Omri have been working since they were 4 years old and Vinessa is one of the top young models.â€
Billy the Butcher, the poor old soul who had the unfortunate luck of capturing Winifred Sandersonâ€™s fancy 300 years earlier, is brought back to life and forced to serve as an accomplice to the troublesome trio. The character of Billy, played by actor Doug Jones, was a special effects project unto itself. Two and a half hours of preparation was required every day that Billy was to appear on camera. Special effects make-up artist Tony Gardner explains, â€œDoug wears a make-up appliance of a paper thin foam latex that covers everything from his ears forward and his entire neck. In addition, he wears a full body suit, long gloves with acrylic extensions on the ends of his fingers to add length, a ratty wig and big shoes with fake toes coming through them.
â€œThe intention,â€ Gardner continues, â€œwas to create a character who would walk a fine line between grotesque â€“ because he has been dead for quite some time â€“ and handsome.â€ Billy ends up as a sympathetic character, one who has suffered under Winifredâ€™s evil hands much longer than any one else. Gardner envisioned the character as a ghoulish version of Ichabod Crane. â€œHe is regal, an aristocrat, but very dead.
â€œWe exaggerated Dougâ€™s physical features,â€ Gardner explains. â€œHe has a small nose and a very narrow face onto which we could place the latex, reshaping his face, with hollowed cheeks and deep-set eyes. Kenny wanted him to look innocent, a Bambi-look, with doe eyes. Dougâ€™s eyes are very expressive and stand out with the make-up. Underneath his costume he wears the body suit with all the textural details of a zombie, exaggerated bone structure at the knees and elbows.â€
Doug Jones shares the character of Billy with the actress Karyn Malchus who plays the headless Billy. Malchus, who is 5â€™4â€ fits neatly into character, sans head, by wearing shoe lifts and a body suit that shifts everything up proportionately.â€
â€œHocus Pocusâ€ was shot at the Walt Disney Studios where production designer William Sandell took over the studioâ€™s largest sound stage to build the Sanderson house, its surrounding environment and the cemetery where the filmâ€™s final confrontation between the witches and the kids takes place.
In addition to designing a cemetery with careful attention paid to topography, trees and rocks, Sandell and his team spent months researching houses until they came up with a perfect design for the witchesâ€™ house. â€œWe looked at a number of restored and preserved houses in Salem, including The House of Seven Gables. We examined many books and illustrations, but the architecture was always fairly simple and stark. Nothing compared to the â€˜Hansel and Gretelâ€™ witch-type of motif we wanted. Our house ended up being an amalgam of everybodyâ€™s vision of a witchâ€™s house â€“ from fairy tales to Mother Goose.â€
To achieve the right mix of reality and fantasy, Sandell built the house using some of the same techniques Salem settlers employed in building their homes 300 years ago. â€œItâ€™s a mortise and tenon old-style architecture where the logs are split and seamed together. We tried to build it as authentically as we could, using heavy timber as opposed to box timber. We shaped the wood by axing, grinding and sandblasting to add a patina of age. We imitated a wattle and daub, which is a technique of mixing clay with chopped straw used originally by New Englanders in lieu of plaster to weatherize their houses.
â€œThis is a real house, with a nod to fairy tales,â€ he says. â€œAll the beams are real and in the correct fashion. You could take this house, place it on a hill somewhere, bring it up to code and live in it, which Iâ€™d like to do. It would make great artistâ€™s studio.â€
Of course a Halloween story must also have lots of magic. To help the fantasy come to life, the film employs â€œevery possible special / visual effect you can think of,â€ points out executive producer Ralph Winter. â€œThere are traditional effects, matte paintings, animation, etc. used throughout. And we use the Blue Screen to capture the Sandersons flying.
â€œWe also created a talking cat, which is computer generated,â€ Winter continues. â€œThis specific computer technology has never been used to the extent that weâ€™re using it here. The cat image is put into the computer where we remove the catâ€™s head and replace it with a completely synthetic, anatomically correct, three-dimensional articulated cat head. When weâ€™re done, it looks like the cat is actually talking.â€
â€œThe process is a lot like flying a miniature airplane,â€ explains animation supervisor Chris Bailey. â€œWe build a 3D model out of clay and then scan the model into a computer. On the computer you can move the image up and down, side to side, across the horizon, and back into space. Then we shoot the real cat in a scene, feed the image into the computer, remove the cat, shoot the blank background (without the cat) and use the blank background to matte the real catâ€™s head out of the shot. So what you have in the computer is a headless cat on which we begin building the computer-generated image of the head bobbing around and talking.
â€œFor each shot,â€ Bailey continues â€œwe work with Kenny to determine how the line is delivered, for example â€˜is he angry here?â€™ Additionally, we must also light each new head. You have the real catâ€™s body in the scene and itâ€™s important that the light reflecting on the real cat matches the computer generated image.â€
While some of the flying scenes were achieved with the use of miniatures and matte paintings, many of the aerial stunts were done by the principal actresses. Each of the women were placed in a special harness under her costume (special versions of the costumes were make for the flying scenes) which would then be rigged to the ceiling of the stage with heavy wires and operated by the special effects team.
Actress Kathy Najimy recalls her experiences â€œflying.â€ â€œAfter I was cast, they told me I would fly, but I hadnâ€™t really given it much thought. I guess I thought theyâ€™d do it with animation. When it came time to actually fly I was really excited. I loved it. Thereâ€™s a danger but itâ€™s really fun. It feels like swimming or sailing or being weightless. Everyone dreams of flying, and this was a great feeling of going fast and being free.â€ Even visiting journalist Rex Reed took a little spin on a spare broom one day during the shoot.
Many involved in the production share a love of Halloween and the rich fantasy that surrounds the holiday. As producer Kirschner observes, â€œWhatâ€™s wonderful is that this work is bringing out the child in all of these people who, as adults, are quite brilliant. But what theyâ€™re able to do now is combine these childhood memories with the imaginations they have today.
Production designer Sandell agrees, â€œAny production designer would jump at a chance to do a movie like this. Itâ€™s loaded with interesting visual images: the spooky house, the black cauldron, all of these are icons that you just die to get involved with. Everybody on the picture, on the creative end at least, certainly finds the work fascinating because Halloween is a part of our childhood and one of the myths that shapes our imaginations.â€
This love of fantasy extended beyond the story to the process of filmmaking itself. As director Kenny Ortega observes, â€œThe page of script is only a starting point. Itâ€™s what the actors and I create at the moment that makes this fun. I have always liked the process of directing and watching magical moments happen. This has been a difficult shoot, with children, witches, stunts, talking animals and every possible special effect. Still, there is something very thrilling about working this way. Itâ€™s been very magical.â€
When not shooting on stage, the production filmed at various locations throughout the greater Los Angeles area as well as one week on location in Salem, Massachusetts.
ABOUT THE CAST
BETTE MIDLER (Winifred Sanderson) is an internationally recognized star of film, television, and recordings. Her diverse talents have earned her two Academy Award nominations for her performances in â€œThe Roseâ€ and â€œFor the Boys,â€ two Emmy Awards, three Grammy Awards, and a Tony Award.
Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Midler landed her first role as an extra in George Roy Hillâ€™s â€œHawaii.â€ From there she moved to New York and within a matter of months, made her theatrical debut in Tom Eyenâ€™s â€œMiss Nefertiti Regretsâ€ and later took over the role of Tzeitel in Jerome Robbinsâ€™ hit Broadway musical â€œFiddler on the Roof.â€ After several singing arrangements at popular New York cabarets, Midler opened a record-breaking run at New Yorkâ€™s Down Stairs at the Upstairs, a breakthrough that led to a national tour and a recording contract with Atlantic Records.
In 1975, Midler won a Grammy Award as best new artist for her album The Divine Miss M, an album which later went gold. That same year, she received a special Tony Award for her appearance at Broadwayâ€™s Palace Theatre. Midlerâ€™s meteoric career escalated during the next four years with her â€œClams on the Half Shellâ€ revue, â€œThe Fabulous Bette Midler Showâ€ for HBO, the Emmy Award-winning television special â€œOlâ€™ Red Hair is Back,â€ and four more record albums: Bette Midler, Songs for the New Depression, Live at Last and Broken Blossom. In 1979, her portrayal of the tormented, self-destructive rock singer in Mark Rydellâ€™s â€œThe Roseâ€ earned Midler an Academy Award nomination and two Golden Globes (best actress and newcomer of the year), and the filmâ€™s soundtrack went platinum.
That same year, she opened â€œDivine Madnessâ€ on Broadway and starred in its motion picture adaptation, directed by Michael Ritchie. She received a second and third Grammy Award for the title song from â€œThe Roseâ€ and â€œBlueberry Pieâ€ (which she performed on the childrenâ€™s album In Harmony).
She has written two books A View from a Broad, memoirs of her European tour, and The Saga of Baby Divine, a childrenâ€™s book, and recorded a comedy album, â€œMud Will Be Flung Tonight.â€
She starred in a string of successful comedies for Touchstone Pictures including â€œDown and Out in Beverly Hills,â€ â€œRuthless People,â€ â€œOutrageous Fortuneâ€ and â€œBig Buisiness.â€
In 1985 Midler formed All Girl Productions, her own production company based at the Walt Disney Studios and starred in and produced the film â€œBeaches.â€ The filmâ€™s soundtrack album reached #2 on the record charts, and the single â€œThe Wind Beneath My Wingsâ€ soared to #1. She then starred in â€œStellaâ€ and with Woody Allen in â€œScenes From a Mall.â€
Midler reunited with Mark Rydell to film â€œFor the Boys,â€ for which she received an Oscar nomination. She is currently working on â€œGypsyâ€ a Movie-of-the-Week for Universal television.
She is married to Martin Von Haselburg and has a young daughter, Sophie.
SARAH JESSICA PARKER (Sarah Sanderson), was born in Nelsonville, Ohio and raised in Cincinnati. She studied and performed ballet with both the Cincinnati Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre (in such pieces as â€œThe Nutcrackerâ€ and â€œLa Sylphideâ€ with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland). She also sang with the Metropolitan Opera in such productions as â€œHansel and Gretel,â€ â€œCavalaria Rusticana,â€ â€œPagliacciâ€ and â€œParade.â€ She appeared in her first television special, â€œThe Little Match Girlâ€ at age 8.
Both Sarah and her older brother were cast in the Broadway play â€œThe Innocentsâ€ directed by Harold Pinter. Later, she and her family moved to New York and she was cast as the star of â€œAnnieâ€ on Broadway, a part she played for two years. Over the years, Parker has appeared in numerous stage productions, including participating in the Eugene Oâ€™Neil Theatre Conference. She recently earned critical acclaim for her work in both the off-Broadway and Lincoln Center productions of â€œThe Substance of Fireâ€ and the off-Broadway production of Wendy Wassersteinâ€™s â€œThe Heidi Chronicles.â€
Parker gained national recognition with her starring role in the popular series â€œSquare Pegs,â€ and was a series regular on â€œEqual Justiceâ€ and â€œA Year in the Life.â€ She also starred in several made-for-television movies including â€œThe Best Interest of the Children,â€ â€œThe Ryan White Storyâ€ and â€œThe Room Upstairs.â€
Her film credits include â€œL.A. Story,â€ â€œRich Kids,â€ â€œFootloose,â€ â€œFirst Bornâ€ and â€œFlight of the Navigatorâ€ and she recently starred with Nicholas Cage and James Caan in â€œHoneymoon in Vegas.â€ Parker also co-stars with Bruce Willis in the upcoming â€œStriking Distance.â€
Ms. Parker is currently a member of the New York City Ensemble Studio Theatre.
This past year has been a remarkable one for KATHY NAJIMY (Mary Sanderson). A two-time Cable ACE Award winner for her work on the HBO production of â€œThe Kathy and Mo Show,â€ which she wrote and starred in, she also enjoyed rave reviews for her performance in the blockbuster hit â€œSister Act.â€ Her portrayal of Sister Mary Patrick won her an American Comedy Award for funniest supporting female in a motion picture. Her other feature film credits include â€œThis Is My Life,â€ â€œThe Fisher King,â€ â€œSoapdish,â€ â€œThe Hard Wayâ€ and â€œTopsy and Bunker.â€ Najimy also received rave reviews for the off-Broadway production of â€œBack to Bacharach and David,â€ which she directed.
In addition to six years of â€œThe Kathy and Mo Show,â€ which garnered an Obie Award, her other stage credits include roles at The Old Globe, the San Diego Public Theatre, and over a dozen musicals including â€œGodspellâ€ and â€œGrease.â€ She was a five-year member of the feminist theatre â€œSisters On Stageâ€ and soloed in â€œItâ€™s My Party,â€ her one-woman show.
Kathy has been published in The New York Times, as well as several national magazines. She contributed a chapter to the Random House book The Choices We Made, which was released on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.
In addition, Ms. Najimy directed the off-off-Broadway play â€œDonâ€™t Get Me Started,â€ and the award-winning â€œI Can Put My Fist In My Mouth,â€ in Los Angeles. She is proud of her four years as resident director of the Emmy Award-winning New Image Teen Theatre.
With Mo Gaffney, Kathy has just finished writing The Kathy and Mo Book. She lives in New York with composer John Boswell and their dog, Al Finney.
OMRI KATZ (Max Dennison) was born in Los Angeles, California and has been acting since he was 3 Â½ years old. In 1983, he won the role of J.R. Ewing, Jr. on the hit series â€œDallas.â€ The following year he received the Soap Opera Digest Award for best youth actor in a prime-time drama. In addition to eight years on â€œDallas,â€ Omriâ€™s credits include the lead role in the series â€œEerie Indiana,â€ and appearances as a guest star on several series including â€œZorroâ€ and â€œCircus of the Stars.â€ He starred in the feature film â€œAdventures in Dinosaur Cityâ€ and co-starred with John Goodman in â€œMatinee.â€
Born in Los Angeles, 11-year-old THORA BIRCH (Dani Dennison) began her career when she was 4, starring in 14 Quaker Oatmeal commercials with Wilford Brimley. After completing over 40 commercials including the â€œJust Say Noâ€ to drugs campaign and a role on the NBC series â€œDay by Day,â€ Miss Birch landed her first feature film role in â€œPurple People Eater,â€ with Shelley Winters and Ned Beatty.
At age 9, Thora won the hearts of audiences and critics alike with her performance as Billie Pike, in the Touchstone Picturesâ€™ sensitive drama â€œParadise,â€ starring Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith. She then starred in â€œPatriot Gamesâ€ with Harrison Ford, and â€œAll I Want for Christmas.â€
When not acting or attending school, the young actress enjoys studying piano, karate, swimming and hanging out with friends.
VINESSA SHAW (Allison) began her professional career as a young model. A third generation California native, Vinessa grew up surrounded by creative energy; both her mother and sister are actresses and her father is a psychologist. The Shawâ€™s neighbors also had an artistic flair and when the folk singer Peter Alsop was looking for a young vocalist he found her right next door! At 11 years old Vinessa began touring and recording with Peter and his band as part of the Karamazoff Brothers Circus. The following year, Vinessa filmed her first television commercial and by the time she turned 13, she was signed with Elite Models. Her portfolio includes photographs by Bruce Weber, Matthew Rolston, Alberto Tolot, Pamela Hanson and Manuela Pavesi.
Television producers began to take notice of Vinessa and signed her to star with Mark Harmon on NBCâ€™s â€œThe Long Road Home.â€ Additional television roles followed and in 1991 she starred in her first feature film, â€œLadybugs.â€ In 1992 she became a regular cast member on Fox Televisionâ€™s series â€œGreat Scott.â€ Vinessa will be seen later this year on Showtimeâ€™s â€œFallen Angels,â€ directed by Steven Soderburgh.
In addition to her professional career, Vinessa is also a scholar and is listed in Whoâ€™s Who of American High School Students.
SEAN MURRAY (Thackery Binx and the voice of Binx the cat) began his film career as an extra on â€œMy Blue Heavenâ€ with Steve Martin and Rick Moranis. He has worked extensively in television, starring in two movies-of-the-week, â€œBackfield in Motion,â€ starring Roseanne and Tom Arnold, and â€œMurder On the Rio Grande,â€ opposite Victoria Principal. He has been cast in the new CBS television series â€œHarts of the Westâ€ with Beau Bridges and Harley Jane Kozak.
Sean made his feature film debut this year in â€œThis Boys Lifeâ€ starring Robert DeNiro and Ellen Barkin.
CHARLES ROCKET (Mr. Dennison) first came to the publicâ€™s attention as a regular on â€œSaturday Night Liveâ€ and as Bruce Willisâ€™ brother on the hit series â€œMoonlighting.â€ His feature credits include â€œDances With Wolves,â€ â€œEarth Girls are Easy,â€ â€œDeliriousâ€ and the upcoming Robert Altman film â€œLA Shortcuts.â€ He has guest starred on numerous television series such as â€œQuantum Leap,â€ â€œthirtysomethingâ€ and â€œFlying Blind.â€ In addition, he has appeared as a regular on â€œMax Headroomâ€ and Oliver Stoneâ€™s â€œWild Palms.â€
STEPHANIE FARACY (Mrs. Dennison) is perhaps best known for her role opposite John Candy in â€œThe Great Outdoors.â€ Ms. Faracyâ€™s feature credits â€œBlind Date,â€ â€œHeaven Can Wait,â€ â€œWhen You Cominâ€™ Back, Red Ryder?â€ and â€œScavenger Hunt.â€
Stephanie recently starred for two years in the Fox comedy series â€œTrue Colors.â€ Prior to that, she played opposite Martin Mull in â€œHis & Hersâ€ for CBS. She also produced the light hearted detective series â€œEye to Eyeâ€ co-starring with Charles Durning, and will soon be seen in the BBC production of â€œArmistead Maupin: Tales of the City.â€