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'Witches' studio regrets 'any offense caused' to people with disabilities

Warner Bros. has apologized for its physical depiction

Warner Bros. has apologized for its physical depiction of fictional sorceresses in its new film, "The Witches."  Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures / Daniel Smith

Warner Bros. has landed into a cauldron of trouble over its film "The Witches."

Based on Roald Dalh’s novel and directed by Robert Zemeckis, "The Witches" stars Anne Hathaway as the fashionably dressed leader of a modern coven. One of the witches’ telltale marks: Hands with three long fingers, which they keep hidden under gloves. After the movie’s release on HBO Max in late October, the film came under criticism for its portrayal of people with limb differences.

"It’s not unusual for surgeons to try and build hands like this for children/adults with certain limb differences," British Paralympic swimmer Amy Marren tweeted earlier this week. "Yes, I am fully aware this is a film, and these are Witches," she wrote. "My fear is that children will watch this film, unaware that it massively exaggerates the Roald Dahl original and that limbs differences begin to be feared."

In the book and in Nicolas Roeg’s 1990 adaptation starring Anjelica Houston, the witches have claws.

Warner Bros. said through an unnamed representative that it was "deeply saddened to learn that our depiction of the fictional characters in The Witches could upset people with disabilities" and that it "regretted any offense caused," according to Deadline.com. "It was never the intention for viewers to feel that the fantastical, non-human creatures were meant to represent them."

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