1996 cult classic The Craft almost cast Angelina Jolie in Neve Campbell’s role, and was nearly adapted into a TV series for FOX. While not a massive hit at the time – online sources cite it as earning a quite respectable $55 million worldwide on a budget of $15 million – The Craft has gone on to become a certified cult classic, especially among those who came of age in the late 90s. The Craft’s tale of bullied and marginalized teen girls using their collective power to strike back against those who’ve done them wrong also tends to particularly resonate with young women.
Critics weren’t huge fans of The Craft at the time of its release, with the film earning mixed reviews at best. Still, The Craft managed to strike a chord with the audience it was intended for, and many of the cast members now do genre conventions due to popular fan demand. Written by Andrew Fleming and Peter Filardi – and directed by Fleming – The Craft also carries with it a noticeable air of outsider cool, or at least what passed for cool when the film was released.
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As revealed to EW in an recently published oral history of The Craft though, the main group of four young witches might have looked quite different. According to casting director Pam Dixon, notable names Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, and Alicia Silverstone all tested for the role that eventually went to then Party of Five star Neve Campbell. Dixon doesn’t elaborate on exactly why Campbell won out, but her TV fame definitely made her the biggest name in the cast at the time.
Additionally, the oral history reveals that Fleming wrote a pilot for a potential TV series based on The Craft for FOX. Upstart network The WB expressed interest in the series after FOX failed to move forward, but FOX apparently wouldn’t allow them to have it, for whatever reason.The following year, The WB premiered Charmed, a series about three sister witches that used Love Spit Love’s cover of The Smiths song “How Soon Is Now?” as its theme.
That particular song had memorably been used by The Craft, during the scene where new girl Sarah (Robin Tunney) first meets her future coven. While Fleming stops short of outright calling Charmed a Craft ripoff, Tunney has no such reservations, saying that “Charmed is a rip-off of The Craft. It was completely obvious to the point that people would think I was on Charmed for years after.” Considering how famous The Craft has since become – a remake/loose sequel is currently in development – one assumes she no longer has that problem.