‘Hocus Pocus 2’s Young Winifred On Playing Bette Midler’s Character – Hollywood Life

‘Hocus Pocus 2’s Young Winifred Gushes Bette Midler Was ‘So Generous With Advice’

'Hocus Pocus 2' travels back in time to the early days of the Sanderson sisters. HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Taylor Paige Henderson about playing a younger version of Bette Midler's iconic Winifred Sanderson.

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Hocus Pocus 2 is the Halloween movie fans have been waiting nearly 30 years to see. The Disney+ Original premieres September 30, and the Sanderson sisters are back in Salem. The sequel includes flashbacks to show the Sanderson sisters in their teen years. Young Winifred is played by Taylor Paige Henderson.

Taylor Paige Henderson
Taylor Paige Henderson at the ‘Hocus Pocus 2’ premiere. (Gregory Pace/Shutterstock)

“When I found out I got the role, I was so excited. I just felt this huge feeling of relief because I’d been going through the audition process and callback process for so long at that point,” Taylor told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “I was just so excited, and it was such a huge honor that I get to play this role.”

The young actress watched Hocus Pocus “so many times” as she auditioned to “make sure I really had Winifred’s mannerisms down correctly.” After getting the role of young Winifred, Taylor admitted she “watched the movie every night before going on set. I watched so many interviews of Bette Midler, but I also got to watch Bette do her camera test, which was like the best character study I could ever get.”

Getting to speak with Bette about the character of Winifred was a dream come true for Taylor. “She is such a legend and so generous with advice and so kind. Just to be in her presence is so amazing,” she said. Taylor revealed that she and Bette talked “about the character and how she portrays Winnie, how she’s always moving and got her hands going and her faces. We talked about how she looks and how her hair is such a big part of her personality. She’s given me lots of pointers on the character, which I was so grateful for.”

To become Winifred was a “long process,” Taylor revealed. “I had to get my wig fitted, and then I had to have my teeth molded. I had so many costume fittings over a period of time before we started filming. So when I finally saw myself in costume, it was so cool and so surreal. My wig and my teeth were handmade by somebody,” Taylor noted.

Hocus Pocus 2
Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler, and Kathy Najimy in ‘Hocus Pocus 2.’ (Disney+)

Taylor admitted that telling a new side to Winifred Sanderson and the pressure that would bring was “very overwhelming” at first. “It is a character that everyone loves and from such an iconic movie, I was scared of how I would be able to do the character justice, but that just really drove me to do so much character study and so much hard work. To make sure I had like all the Winnisms, which is what I call them, down. It was such an honor to bring Bette Midler’s character to life because she’s such a legend. But it was intimidating at first,” Taylor said.

As for whether or not she’d be down for reprising the role of young Winifred again, Taylor responded, “It would be so much fun. I’m always open to that idea.”