Unveiling the Mysteries: How ‘Practical Magic’ Incurred the Wrath of a Real-Life Witch

Twenty-five years after its release, ‘Practical Magic,’ a quirky blend of ’90s romantic comedy, supernatural intrigue, and domestic violence, still captivates audiences. However, it’s not just the film’s fans who are enchanted by it. In this article, we delve into the curious case of how ‘Practical Magic’ managed to irk a real-life witch and the director’s perspective on the supernatural encounters during its production.

The ‘Practical Magic’ Synopsis: A Spellbinding Tale


The film revolves around the lives of two sisters, Sally (played by Sandra Bullock) and Gillian (portrayed by Nicole Kidman). Their family is cursed, and any man who falls in love with an Owens woman meets an untimely demise. Raised by their eccentric aunts in a magical mansion, the sisters take different paths in life. Sally vows never to fall in love, while Gillian embraces romance.

However, their lives take dark turns when Sally’s husband meets his predicted end, and Gillian faces an abusive boyfriend named Jimmy. In a gruesome twist, the sisters end up burying Jimmy in the backyard of their enchanting home, leading to a paranormal battle.

Director’s Insights: A Gender Twist

Director Griffin Dunne reveals intriguing insights into the film’s production. Although the film’s theme is centered on powerful women, it may come as a surprise to some that a man directed it. Dunne’s earlier success with romantic comedies, like ‘Addicted to Love,’ made him the studio’s choice. He explains that at the time, he was considered a "woman’s director" for such roles.

However, Dunne admits that the idea of witches and magic didn’t initially resonate with him. It was the strength of the women in his own family that inspired him to tell the story. He considered it a tribute to the generations of strong women who influenced his life.

A Director’s Cut: What Was Left Out

Dunne also sheds light on the fact that his original version of ‘Practical Magic’ was toned down at the studio’s request. Scenes depicting the horror of domestic violence, including a chilling moment involving needles, were edited to make the film more palatable. He believes the film is ripe for a director’s cut, offering viewers a more intense and emotional experience.

The Witch’s Curse: Fact or Fiction?

One of the most intriguing aspects of the ‘Practical Magic’ production was the involvement of an actual witch consultant. Dunne hired the witch to ensure accuracy in the film’s magical ceremonies. However, this decision came with unexpected consequences.

Rumors circulated that a curse hung over the film’s production. While Dunne initially downplayed this idea, he later admitted that he didn’t want to give any credence to the curse’s power. Interestingly, some unfortunate incidents did occur on set, including the death of a crew member’s father, which fueled speculations about the curse’s influence.

A Memorable Midnight Margarita Moment

Among the film’s most iconic scenes is the midnight margarita-making sequence. It’s rumored that Nicole Kidman brought real tequila to the set to enhance the authenticity of the scene. Director Dunne confirms that everyone joined in the revelry, and the atmosphere was indeed electric. The cast and crew indulged in tequila, leading to a memorable and spirited night of filming.

Sally and Gillian’s Love Interests: A Curious Omission

In a film centered on the curse that befalls men who love Owens women, one might wonder why Sally and Gillian never considered dating women themselves. Director Dunne reflects on this and acknowledges that it wasn’t a consideration at the time. However, he suggests that in a modern remake, such a storyline might be explored.

The Legacy and Spinoff Attempts

‘Practical Magic’ has left an enduring legacy. While the film itself remains a beloved classic, there have been attempts to adapt the prequel books from Alice Hoffman’s series. Unfortunately, these attempts, including TV pilots and series, have struggled to gain traction. Director Dunne hasn’t been directly involved in these spinoffs but remains proud of the film’s enduring beauty.

In conclusion, ‘Practical Magic’ may have cast its spell on audiences for a quarter of a century, but it also stirred real-life controversies, from supernatural encounters to the portrayal of domestic violence. Director Griffin Dunne’s candid insights into the film’s production offer a fascinating glimpse into the world of movie-making and the enduring appeal of this enchanting tale.

Please note: ‘Practical Magic’ continues to captivate audiences, even after 25 years, making it a timeless classic in its own right.

Practical Magic’s Enduring Appeal: From Box Office Misfire to Cult Classic

What was the Practical Magic curse?

The Practical Magic curse began with Maria’s heartbreak when her unborn child’s father abandoned her. Seeking to shield herself from further heartache, Maria cast a spell that ultimately transformed into a generational curse among the Owens women. This curse dictates that any man who loves an Owens woman is destined for a tragic end.

Why did Practical Magic flop?

The reasons behind Practical Magic’s initial box office disappointment remain elusive in the world of film analysis. Typically, delayed cult status can be attributed to evolving trends or shifts in audience preferences. However, Practical Magic’s 1998 stumble may carry an unconventional culprit: a supposed curse from a genuine witch.

How scary is Practical Magic?

Practical Magic boasts a captivating magical storyline and strong performances. It avoids explicit sex scenes but includes some suggestive content. While it may unsettle younger children towards the conclusion, it generally provides an enjoyable experience for viewers aged 8 and above.

What are the kids chanting in Practical Magic?

In Practical Magic, village children taunt the Owens sisters with a chant: "Witch, witch, you’re a witch!" Young Sally repeatedly wishes, "I hope I never fall in love," while Young Gillian expresses her eagerness, saying, "I can’t wait to fall in love."

What is the Owens curse?

Maria Owens, the ancestral matriarch of the Owens family, faced heartbreak due to her affair with witch-hunter John Hathorne, leading to the birth of her daughter Faith. In response to this betrayal, Maria cast a curse upon herself and her descendants: anyone who falls in love with an Owens woman is destined to meet a tragic end.

What is the poison in Practical Magic?

In Practical Magic, as Sally and Gillian attempt to rescue Gillian from her dangerous lover, who they discover is a serial killer, Sally takes action. She secretly introduces a poisonous plant known as belladonna into Jimmy’s tequila, resulting in his inadvertent death.

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