‘Hocus Pocus 2’ role felt good to Doug Jones

Disney+ movie reunites Jones and Bette Midler

Doug Jones

Doug Jones is one of Hollywood’s most accomplished creature actors, with more than 130 TV and film credits ranging from Faun in “Pan’s Labyrinth” and Saru in “Star Trek: Discovery” to the Amphibian Man in “The Shape of Water” and the Silver Surfer in “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.”

But nothing got him excited like when he was asked to reprise his role as zombie Billy Butcherson in “Hocus Pocus 2,” the sequel to the 1993 feature film that begins streaming Friday, Sept. 30, on Disney+.

“I’d been asked in many interviews if there’s any one of my characters over the array of fantasy characters I played (that) I’d like to revisit and play again,” Jones says, “and I’ve always said Billy Butcherson. So finally getting the chance to do that 29 years later was kind of unexpected and a lovely surprise and a dream come true for me. … I love looking back and reminiscing on what parts of my life felt good, and in my acting career playing Billy felt really good.”

In the new film, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy reprise their roles as Winifred, Sarah and Mary, the resurrected 17th century Sanderson sisters, who this time around are intent on wreaking havoc on Salem before dawn on All Hallow’s Eve.

As Billy, Jones played Winifred’s love interest in both movies, though while making the first film, he admits he was something of a “fanboy” when he was around Midler. Now, he says, they’re more on an even footing.

“This time, (she) was asking me, ‘What was it like being in “The Shape of Water”? Oh my gosh, I love that movie so much. I’m so proud of where you’ve come.’ So she was treating me more like a peer and I felt more like a peer, I guess.

“But the slobbering fanboy never goes away, let’s be honest,” he adds with a laugh. “So I was tickled pink to be in her presence again.”

Doug Jones

Birth date: May 24, 1960

Birthplace: Indianapolis

Alma mater: Ball State University

Family ties: He and wife Laurie live in California

TV credits include: “In Living Color,” “Tales From the Crypt,” “Silk Stalkings,” “The Outer Limits,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Party of Five,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Criminal Minds,” “The Neighbors,” “Comedy Bang! Bang!,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Falling Skies,” “Z Nation,” “The Strain,” “Adopted,” “Star Trek: Discovery”

Movie credits include: “Batman Returns” (1992), “Hocus Pocus” (1993), “Tank Girl” (1995), “The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle” (2000), “Monkeybone” (2001), “The Time Machine” (2002), “Men in Black II” (2002), “Adaptation.” (2002), “Hellboy” (2004), “Panʼs Labyrinth” (2006), “Lady in the Water” (2006), “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” (2007), “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (2008), “Quarantine” (2008), “John Dies at the End” (2012), “Ouija: Origin of Evil” (2016), “The Shape of Water” (2017), “Beneath the Leaves” (2019)

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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