Good news, witches! The much-anticipated Hocus Pocus 2 premieres on Disney+ on Friday, just in time for spooky season, and we were thrilled to get to (virtually) sit down with screenwriter Jen D’Angelo ahead of tonight’s premiere to talk about the nitty-gritty of prepping for her first major red carpet.
Jen is an actress (Workaholics, Loosely Exactly Nicole) and a scribe who has written for shows like Young Rock, the Dermot Mulroney network comedy LA to Vegas, Workaholics, and Cougar Town. She’s also a self-professed longtime Go Fug Yourself reader who copped to having our very cranky voices in her head when picking out her look for tonight’s big event. In a chat on Friday, we covered everything from being styled by the group chat, to the question of what you do with your hands, to the practicality of tiny cat bags — and whether she ultimately needed a bracelet. Spoiler: Sandra Oh weighs in, The Pick-Up Artist makes an appearance, and she leaves us with a fashion cliffhanger.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity. We use affiliate links where available.
GFY: Okay, so if you’ve read us for any amount of time, you know how often we use the word “logistics,” like, “I wonder what everybody went through for this look to come together.” So I think our readers are going to love this. But to get started, do you want to give us a quick rundown of your background and how you got involved in Hocus Pocus 2?
JEN: So, I always wanted to be a writer and have always loved Halloween. One of the first short stories that I wrote was when I was 10, and I wrote a scary ghost story, because I had watched Scream on my own when my parents left for an afternoon and it scared me so much that I was like, “I need to write my own ghost story to take the power back.” So I always wanted to be a writer. And then I started doing comedy, and then after college I went to Northwestern to study screenwriting. Then I just moved out to LA and started working assistant jobs, and was just writing all the time. And then I started writing for some TV shows [but] I was like, ‘You know, I really love movies and I really want to get into movies.’ So I wrote a feature script. I just was like, ‘I wanna write something that’ll really show my voice.’ So I wrote basically a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead but for the movie Titanic. It’s a comedy about a family in steerage. And that started getting passed around. And then it was the end of 2018 or maybe early 2019 that I got an email from my agent that was like, ‘Disney is interested in rebooting or doing a sequel to Hocus Pocus. Do you wanna talk to them about it?’ And I literally could not respond fast enough. I was like, ‘I’m obsessed with Hocus Pocus, I watch it every Halloween. I absolutely wanna talk to them.’
GFY: That’s incredible! I know so many people who are just like… this movie is their tradition. That must have been a complete Pinch Me moment.
JEN: Oh my gosh. It was amazing. I have a group of friends where we watched Hocus Pocus every Halloween. So I immediately just texted them being like, ‘I could have a meeting,’ so excited, and then…
GFY: Then… dot dot dot. I guess the meeting went well!
GFY: And when was that? For frame of reference of how long this town takes get anything done.
JEN: That was early 2019. I think I was officially hired in, I think around March. It’s kind of crazy because it feels like a long time, but also in the grand scheme of things, it feels like this actually came together really quickly compared to most movies.
GFY: Especially because time has lost all meaning because COVID happened in the middle of that, which I’m sure meant a whole other layer of weirdness. Not only are you working on the sequel to this movie that you’ve loved forever, but then the world shut down.
JEN: Totally. I remember working on a draft in 2020 and just being like…what’s happening? Yeah.
GFY: So fast forward from you getting the job to now when you’re getting ready for the premiere. What was the first thing that you thought about when you were trying to figure out your look?
JEN: Honestly, through reading Go Fug Yourself, I’ve really thought a lot about my personal style. Because I feel like I gravitate towards wanting to blend in and like, you know, nice basics. Every time that I’ve gone to an event before this, I feel like my go-to was always like, “I’m just gonna wear all black and do some fun makeup and just sort of like blend in.” And for this, I was like, this is so huge. I already can’t believe there’s gonna be a sequel to Hocus Pocus. And then on top of that, I can’t believe that I wrote it! Insane. And the movie obviously feels like a fashion movie just because the costumes are so iconic and amazing, and the look of the movie is so cool. And so I really wanted to push myself a little bit, but also not go like… full insane. So I was like, ‘Okay, what’s a good, nice, fun, but not crazy brand for a good Halloween movie?’ And of course I immediately thought of The Vampire’s Wife. And then my next thought was you two? Like… they’ll have thoughts. They’ll have thoughts.
GFY: We were like the witches on your shoulder! But that’s the perfect brand for this. It’s thematically appropriate without being potentially totally over the top. We were going to ask you if you ever considered wearing something extremely wild.
JEN: Not really, but I definitely was tempted to go extremely wild with accessories. I didn’t work with a stylist or anything, so it was definitely like my group chat was my stylist where I would just text them everything I was looking at. And at one point they were making fun of me cause they were like, “You’re gonna show up to this premiere dressed like Mystery from The Pick-Up Artist.”
GFY: So that was going to be my next question — whether they gave you a stylist to help with it at all. So this was really pretty much all on your shoulders?
JEN: Yeah, it was just me. I was excited for the challenge, but I was also a little bit scared. So I definitely leaned on my friends. But luckily I had friends who love shopping, so they were very into it!
GFY: God bless. And were you shopping off the rack or did you contact The Vampire’s Wife people? I wouldn’t know what to do in your situation.
JEN: No, me either. And I literally was like, I didn’t even know who to contact because when I buy clothes for myself, it’s all just like Everlane or Madewell. And I’m like, “They don’t have anything I can wear.” I was just looking around online. Over the summer, I was in New Orleans, shooting another movie that I wrote with Awkafina and Sandra Oh playing sisters.
GFY: Ooooh, that’s awesome! [Editor’s note: The as-yet untitled movie was also directed by Jessica Yu, and is slated for 2023, so get ready for some good premiere looks there.]
JEN: Yeah, it was so fun. And so I was on set, and there’s so much downtime. I was looking around online for a dress to wear and I thought of The Vampire’s Wife. And I was like… that dress that Kate Middleton wore in the portrait! It’s so perfect. I wonder if they have anything like that. And so I just literally went to their website and then saw that they had that exact dress for sale in their ready-to-wear. And I was like, “Oh man, like, is it weird if I wear this same exact one?” And I went back and forth on it for so long. I literally thought of you two. I finally was just like, “I feel like I have to just get it and try it on.” Because I kept looking for other dresses, but nothing felt as perfect. The green is so perfect because it’s so Winifred [Bette Midler’s character]. The cut is so great. It feels slightly witchy, but not like a costume. So I just bought that dress and tried it on and fell in love with it so much, and then convinced myself it wasn’t weird that it’s already been painted as a state portrait.
GFY: I don’t think that’s weird. That’s a pretty rare situation. I don’t think anyone’s going to hold that against you! And I’m glad that dress is getting a second life outside of its portrait. That’s actually very Halloween-y as well. The dress comes out of the portrait into the real world, in a way.
GFY: If I were you, I think I’d be a little stressed because there are going to be some other people on this red carpet who are very famous for their style — like, Sarah Jessica Parker, obviously. Are you anxious about it? I’m sure you’re gonna look fantastic, so don’t be anxious about it. But what’s the plan for the Day Of? Are you getting a glam squad?
JEN: Yeah, I’m getting glam on the day, with hair and makeup people. And to answer your question, I’m so anxious about it because SJP is a fashion icon and I’m just like…I can’t wait to see what she’s gonna wear to this.
GFY: I hope she wears a cauldron on her head. There could be a hat.
JEN: There’s gotta be a hat! I know, I can’t wait to see what fascinator is gonna be there.
And also, [the movie stars] Whitney Peak. She is incredible. And she’s also a Chanel brand ambassador. And she is like, stunningly gorgeous. And you know, she’s done all these high-fashion photo shoots where she looks so incredible. And so I’m just like, Okay, there’s gonna be an 18 year-old Chanel brand ambassador and Sarah Jessica Parker. Like I need to like step it up a little.
GFY: So a glam squad seems like a fair expense.
JEN: Yeah! I gotta have a little bit of help. Because that was my other thing with the dress. You know, people have worn it a lot, or a very similar cut, and then obviously we’ve seen it on Kate Middleton and Elisabeth Moss I think has worn it. So, I’ve fallen in love with this dress. I simply can’t change my mind on it. So I wanna push it with the styling a little bit to make it slightly, you know, a little bit different than what we’ve seen. So I really wanted to get a makeup artist who can potentially do a little bit more than what I usually do, which is like mascara and tinted sunscreen.
GFY: Have you done any sort of tests with that person or are you just gonna have them show up on the day and they see the outfit and they sort of riff?
JEN: I haven’t done a test with them because I live in LA and the premiere’s in New York, so they’re New York based.
GFY: Oh man, you get to go to New York for this too. What a day.
JEN: I know! I’m so excited. And also like… East Coast Fall. This is a dream.
GFY: See, that’s a good question though, because in LA you never would’ve had to think about, ‘Do I need a coat?’ What do you do? Is it gonna be chilly?
JEN: Yeah, I actually don’t know. I was kind of worried it was gonna be hot and I would be like, am I a fool for wearing sleeves? Even though the material of the dress is so thin. But yeah, I’m just gonna deal with being cold, I guess, if it’s cold.
GFY: You need a caddie to just have your coat.
JEN: Yeah, I know. My husband is very averse to being photographed. Photography is not his favorite thing in the world. So I was already like, okay, you’re gonna have to be holding a lot of stuff and like standing to the side.
GFY: He can hold your coat! He’ll do that! That’ll be fine. So what did you do for accessories?
JEN: I went down a long road on purses, because I definitely had the thought of like, “Okay, let’s see what Judith Leiber has.” And they were all… I mean, her stuff is so expensive, and I absolutely cannot justify spending the most amount of money I’ve ever spent on a bag — by a long shot — on something that is a bejeweled cat that can’t even fit a phone. But I did think about it. And they also have a zip pouch that just has a skull and crossbones on it that was significantly less expensive than everything else. And I was like, “Do I do it? I don’t know.” And I ultimately decided to just go like simple black clutch and not even really worry about it. Because, again, I was so worried that I was gonna turn into Mystery. Then for for jewelry, again, I thought of you two. Because I was like, is this a dress that requires a bracelet?
GFY: That is the question. “Do I NAB?” she asked herself.
JEN: Yeah! You know, there’s sleeves, there’s ruffles on the edge of the sleeve. I was like, is that enough on the arm? What do we do here? So then I was looking around and I decided ultimately, no bracelet, but I did wanna push it with rings. I got really nerdy about it. The main character, who Whitney Peak plays, her name is Becca and she’s into witchcraft in kind of the same way that I am where it’s just like, “Oh, I’ll get my tarot cards read. That’s fun.” And she is into crystals and stuff.
So I had to do a lot of research on crystals, and I found this Mejuri ring that’s a gem ring and the gem is a citrine, which is one of the most powerful crystals. I fell in love with that ring and got that. And then just got some fun dainty, stackable rings to kind of balance it. That ring is definitely the statement ring, so I didn’t wanna fight against it. And then for earrings, I definitely very heavily considered the BaubleBar skeleton dangly earrings.
GFY: Naturally; we would have as well.
JEN: Ultimately, I decided not to go with those because I’m also relatively new to earrings in my life. Like, I got my ears pierced for the first time when I was 28. For no reason at all, really, other than like, “I’ve always kind of thought about it and now I’m getting married and I wanna wear fun earrings at my wedding.” I’m also an actor and there were enough times where I would have to wear clip-on earrings on set that I was like, “This is actually the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life, surely getting them pierced won’t be that bad.” I’m still a little bit trying to figure it out. I’m so scared of heavy earrings because I’m not used to them. I definitely always gravitate towards studs and little hoops and stuff. So then I started looking around for a fun witchy earring. That’s, again, not like a total costume. And I found these little hoops that just look like a little snake. And they’re so cute. And I love them so much. I got those and then when they — again, I bought them online, everything was bought online — when they arrived, they were so tiny. And I was just like, “These don’t read as snake at all,” but I’ve unfortunately fallen in love with them so much. And I think I’m gonna wear them anyway. They’re so small. It’s very funny.
GFY: Well, you want to be comfortable though. I mean, it’s probably difficult to walk that line between “I want to check off all the boxes,” and not wanting to be standing there on the red carpet going ow ow ow, because sometimes you can see that in pictures. I can’t imagine how difficult it’s been to put all this together and to do it yourself. I was cranky on your behalf that they didn’t put a stylist in the budget for you! Like come on, she wrote the movie. But it doesn’t seem like you minded, and the way you described that journey through all the different parts of the outfit, it actually sounds sort of fun.
JEN: It was really fun. Like it was a fun exercise to be, like, what is my style in this context, and how can I kind of push myself but also stay in a lane where I feel comfortable? Because I totally agree, I feel like you can tell in pictures when someone is a little bit, like, “I’m not totally sure about this.” I definitely didn’t want to be feeling not like myself at all. It was fun to kind of just be like, “Okay, what is myself… but on a red carpet for Hocus Pocus.”
GFY: Is this the biggest red carpet that you’ve ever done?
JEN: Yeah. Oh my gosh. I usually don’t even walk the red carpet. For other movies I’ve ever done that I’ve gone to the premiere, I’ll just be like, “Okay, I’ll see you inside!” This is the first time that I’m actually gonna do it. And then, I’m very much in the demographic of people who are thrilled that there’s gonna be a Hocus Pocus 2. I’m of the age group that just watched it every Halloween. So to me, I’m like, “This is amazing. Like, this is huge. Like it’s the Super Bowl.” It’s the biggest premiere. For me it feels like a huge deal.
GFY: Well, of course! You created it. I would imagine it feels like an enormous deal! lt’s your baby. You’re basically going to the birth of your child. Without the medical anguish! Now, we do have to ask about the shoes. What are you doing, foot wise?
JEN: I haven’t fully decided yet. I bought a pair and again, I’m not trying to sound like such an insane stan, but I thought of you guys! I basically am in a weird space where I’ve now bought three shoes from Nordstrom. And I’m not sure which ones I’m gonna return. The third pair is arriving today and I think it’s my favorite. So I’m just gonna try those on and then hopefully they’re perfect, and I return the other two. Again, I went to the group chat because my go-to is always like, you know, play it safe, just get a fun version of a black shoe. So I found a fun version of a black shoe, but then I was talking to a couple of my friends who are more fashion forward. And I was telling them, you know, the dress is kind of a lot of look because there’s sleeves, the shoulders are exaggerated, there’s ruffles. It’s this green shiny fabric. And then I showed it to my friends and they were like, ‘It’s actually not that crazy because it’s monochromatic, and so you could do something fun with the shoes that’s kind of like a bold color complement.’ So then I found a pair of metallic shoes. They’re gold and glittery. And then I just the other day Googled what colors go well with dark green, and it was just like, you know, basically any bold color will go with it based on how it’s styled. So then I was like, ‘I wanna see if I could find magenta shoes.’ Kind of a more fall version of Barbiecore. The black shoes that I had bought, they were Sam Edelman. I was just looking on Nordstrom and they had the same exact pair, but in this fuchsia-y color. And so I was like, “Oh my God, it’s perfect. I already know my size. I already know I can walk in them.” So I got those, those arrive today, and I’ll try them on and see how they look.
GFY: This is exciting, this is a cliffhanger.
JEN: I know. I know.
GFY For the actual red carpet part, are you practicing? Is the group chat getting on FaceTime? Are you rehearsing? Are you ready for the flash bulbs?
JEN: I literally have Googled multiple times, “how do you pose on the red carpet,” because I’m so nervous about it, and it’s so not my thing that I wanna really prepare for this. It’s very much my good student coming out. I’ve researched. And of course, the only advice is just the same advice that I’m telling myself all the time, which is to stand up straight. That’s basically half the battle. It was also comforting to Google it and every article I found was like, “…and of course the age old question of, what do you do with your hands?” And it was nice to be like, “Okay, I’m not the only person that has no idea what to do with my hands.”
GFY: I think that’s why the clutch could be a life saver.
JEN: Or pockets! But I have practiced a tiny, tiny bit. And then at some point this weekend, before we leave for New York, I was gonna have the group chat come over and I’ll try on the dress with all three shoes. And then once we pick the shoes, I could try a couple poses.
GFY: I was gonna say, we could have them shine very bright lights on you and make sure nothing’s see through, but I’m pretty sure we know the dress is fine.
JEN: I remember when I was on set in New Orleans, I was talking about getting this dress. And I was talking to Sandra Oh, because she is a fashion icon, obviously, and loves clothes. And so I was like, “I’m thinking about wearing The Vampire’s Wife.” And she’s worn them a bunch and she loves them. And so she was like, “Oh my gosh, it’s amazing. And when you feel the fabric, you’re gonna think, ‘How can this be a dress?’ But [the fabric] is thin. And I definitely was like, “What if Kate Middleton’s is lined in a special way? Will this one be see-through?” But I think it’s okay.
GFY: That dress is not see through! Other people have worn that dress and none of them have been see through. So do not worry about that. Put that out of your head. So, are you packing it in a suit bag or are you going to roll it in layers of protective tissue? I’m not trying to stress you out. I’m just thinking about what I would be freaking out about right now.
JEN: Yeah, no, I’m freaking out about all the same stuff! I think I’m going to roll it up in protective tissue paper, and then basically just have my carry-on bag be only premiere stuff, because I don’t wanna squash it. I don’t wanna wrinkle it or rumple it. So I’m going to just pack it very neatly and then check a bag that’s just like my jeans and pajama pants for the rest of the time there.
GFY: This has been so fun and you’re going to look fantastic. We can’t wait to see it! When we were doing our research, we saw a picture of you at TCAs and you looked so great. It was a totally cute flower dress that’s perfect for sitting, and we were like… she gets it. She’s going to be totally fine.
JEN: Oh, thanks! So, so excited to talk to you guys! Thank you so much for making the time.
GFY: No no, thank YOU for making the time. We could have talked for another hour and a half. Good luck! We can’t wait to see it and find out which shoes you picked.