Cast and crew working on the purpose built Salem village set of Hocus Pocus 2 are in final preparations to burn the witches this week as part of an expected flashback scene for the upcoming sequel. So far there have been no signs of the any of the movies main stars on set, but new photos from Rhode Island show the final bits of the huge set being put in place for the pyrotechnic stunt that will give the impression of the entire village being on fire, but will not actually burn down the set as first believed.
Since preparation work began on the movie in August, local residents and media outlet the Providence Journal, have been putting out almost daily updates about the on-going building of the 1600s style village, which has been erected in Chase Farm Park and in the last couple of days has seen workers adding the final touches as filming comes closer. Now it would appear that a very appropriately timed shoot will be taking place this week in the run up to Halloween, after Police Chief Brian Sullivan announced closures of the nearby Route 123 throughout the week.
According to a Department of Environmental Management spokesman, the production made a burning permit to set fire to the set a few months ago, and relevant checks have been carried out specialists as part of the process. It seems that with all of this in place, there is very little chance that the rumored burning is not going to happen, and there is every likelihood we will see some shots of the action as it happens in the coming week. However, while it was initially speculated that the set itself would be burned down, DEM air quality specialist Taylor Ryan revealed that this is not the case.
“They are not actually lighting the structure on fire. They are using ‘fire beams’ fueled by natural gas so it looks like the building is on fire from the camera, but nothing will be burnt down,” she wrote in an email. “This is better from our environmental perspective and also better for Disney, as they can do multiple takes of the scene,” she wrote.
The stunt will be overseen by the Lincoln fire departments, and a 500-gallon water tank will be on-site if an emergency should arise. A fire engine and utility vehicle will also be on the scene to be used as required. It was noted that prior to Ryan’s inspection of the scene, it was believed that the filming would include the full burning down of the purpose built set, but when it comes to the use of “fire beams” it seems that everyone is happy, with that route having less environmental impact and also allow the shoot to not be given the added pressure of a one take shot scenario.
DEM spokeman Michael J. Healey noted in his statement, that if Fairy Dust Productions, who are behind the shooting of the movie, were to burn any of the actual set down, then it would be in violation of their agreed permit. So it seems pretty likely that the burning of the village is going to come down to a lot of smoke and mirrors…well with a few flames thrown in for good measure.
Hocus Pocus 2 will see the original Sanderson sisters, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy reprising their roles from the 1993 Halloween classic. Filming has already been taking place around various locations in Rhode Island for the last week, most recently in and around La Salle Academy. With details on the plot of the movie being tight for now, we will just have to wait and how all of this fits in with final film, which is scheduled to arrive on Disney+ in time for Halloween 2022. The details in this story first appears in The Providence Journal.