Taylor Paige Henderson
26th September 2022
Interview: Joe Coburn
Autumn season has arrived, and with the spell-binding sequel of Hocus Pocus scheduled for release on the 30th of September, Disney and Halloween fans alike are eagerly awaiting for its return, 29 years after the original 1993 cult classic was born.
First of all, thank you for talking with ReVamp magazine, we’re so excited to get to know a little about you and what’s to come in the near future. What was happening during the moment you were told that you were cast as the young Winifred Sanderson?
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to me! The moment I found out I booked the role of Young Winifred Sanderson there was a moment of pure relief. I had been working so hard on the character through the callback process, so my first feeling was just one of relief that it was over and I was actually going to get to bring this amazing character to life! And then, as it started to settle in, I had a moment of disbelief like ‘is this really happening?!’ Turns out I would have so many “somebody pinch me, is this real life?” moments in the months to come! Then of course I just felt overwhelmingly happy and honored to get the part. I am so glad my parents decided to record my reaction to being told I go the part, because it’s so special to be able to go back and relive that moment.
With your character providing the backstory of our beloved witch, how did you prepare for the role? Did you receive any coaching from your co-star, Bette Midler?
Hocus Pocus has always been one of my favorite movies, so when I got the audition request for Young Winifred Sanderson, I went back and watched the movie a lot! To watch it over and over again with just an eye on Bette Midler was really interesting. I just studied how Winifred moves, what makes her react certain ways, all the hilarious little things that Bette does to make Winifred come to life, and what her relationship with her sisters was like. Once we were on set, I would watch certain parts of the movie every night before going to set the next day just to make sure I had all the “Winnie-isms” down. She is such an iconic character and she is so hilarious that I wanted to make sure I gave the character that Bette created the artistic justice it deserved.
The best advice Bette gave me on set about Winifred is that she is always moving and that she really does love her sisters! That really drives much of what she does. The first week on set, during the camera tests I got to watch Bette work and get into character. I am positive that it will forever rank at the top of my Top 5 acting moments for the rest of my career! To watch a megastar like Bette, do her thing and work like that was one of those “somebody pinch me!” moments. Watching her get into character that day was something I went back to over and over again during my days on set filming the Young Winifred scenes.
So, we all want to know at ReVamp, can you reveal your most memorable moment whilst being behind the scenes? Something we would never know!
One of the most memorable moments for me was getting to meet the trained spiders before we worked with them on set. Yes, trained spiders are a real thing! These spiders were in one of our scenes (it’s an amazing scene!) and we got to meet them ahead of time and hold them and learn their names so that we wouldn’t be scared of them. They were such beautiful creatures and so graceful! Their handler introduced us to each of them and told us all about them. And then we let them crawl all over our arms which was so cool. These particular spiders were the same ones that were in a Billie Eilish music video so it was like meeting tiny little superstars. That week we filmed a scene with an amazing actor, that I will let be a surprise, and these beautiful spiders. It was cold that day and the spiders were little divas that didn’t want to work in the cold! They eventually rose to the occasion, and we got the scene filmed and it is hilarious! Working with spiders definitely made me feel like a true Sanderson Sister!
What can we expect from Hocus Pocus 2, and how does the story compare to the previous movie that was released almost three decades ago?
Hocus Pocus 2 is such a fun and thrilling movie that will make you laugh! It’s full of the same mischief and mayhem of the first movie that audiences love and of course the three amazing Sanderson Sisters. It’s a great Halloween story with just the right mix of scary and hilarious. It has something that all ages will love and appreciate for sure - a great family movie. Billy Butcherson (Doug Jones) also returns with plenty of the nostalgia of the first movie while introducing a new generation to the Hocus Pocus greatness! I think people will really enjoy seeing some of the Sanderson Sisters’ back story and history in the new movie!
Now, let’s get to know Taylor - besides acting, what is it that interests you?
Besides acting, I love ballet and am a classically trained ballerina. It is something that I love and have been doing since I was a little girl. Being in the ballet studio is calming for me and helps take my focus off all the crazy of the industry, including allowing me to just be present in the studio for that time. It’s definitely my stress reliever! I also love hanging out with my friends, watching movies and traveling with my family. I’m very passionate about animal rescue and volunteer at a local animal adoption agency that helps stray animals find homes. I have three rescue animals of my own and my dad and I are constantly picking up stray dogs (much to my mom’s dismay.) I even have a little group of feral cats that I feed in my neighborhood and I’ve named them all LOL!
What is the most valuable thing that you have learned from your career so far?
The most valuable thing I have learned so far is that it’s a big mistake to be in this just for the fame, because that is such a fleeting thing. You have to love acting for other reasons because fame is so fickle. I do what I do because I love the art of it, I love the storytelling aspect of acting and to bring joy to people through what I create. My goal is to have longevity in this industry and that doesn’t always mean being famous. I want to continue crating amazing art and tell a story in a way that is captivating to audiences. If you can watch a movie and get lost in that character and forget about what might be troubling you at the time, even for just a little while, then that actor has done a great job in my opinion. That’s what my goal is. I can’t imagine doing anything else for the rest of my life.
Where can readers follow you on social media?
Oh, I would be so honored by a follow on my social media!
We appreciate you taking the time to interview with us, we all wish you the very best of success for the future and can’t wait to see what happens next!
‘Hocus Pocus 2’ will be available to stream exclusively on Disney+ from the 30th of September 2022.