Belissa Escobedo, from fan to star of “Hocus Pocus 2”

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Belissa Escobedo went from superfan to protagonist of one of her favorite movies when she was chosen to star in the film “Hocus Pocus 2” (“The Return of the Witches 2”) recently released on the Disney+ streaming service. .

“Every year, it’s the traditional Halloween movie for me and my mom,” Escobedo said in a recent phone interview from Miami. “Being in it now is crazy.”

Escobedo stars as Izzy, who along with her friends Becca (Whitney Peak) and Cassie (Lilia Buckingham) also have favorite Halloween activities in the town of Salem, like watching movies and doing a little magic, but this year everything is different and their order is quite altered. Cassie is more interested in being with her boyfriend and throws a party that Izzy and Becca are invited to by other people.

Upset, Becca and Izzy decide to continue their rituals on their own. Becca has just turned 16 and at her favorite magic supply store they get a somewhat suspicious candle. Izzy and Becca go to the woods to cast a spell and the conditions are met to bring back the Sanderson witches: Winifred (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy), and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), famous for wielding their powers over Salem. in 1693 and 1993, the latter the year in which the first “Hocus Pocus” movie (“Abracadabra”) takes place. Becca and Izzy try to control the witches despite the danger.

“Izzy is very loyal… She is always ready to help her friends, which is very nice,” Escobedo noted. “For me it was very easy to play the character, but having the part was the difficult part,” he added of the process that included about four rounds of auditions.

“Hocus Pocus 2,” from director Anne Fletcher, was filmed in Providence, Rhode Island, and even though it opens almost 30 years after the first, Midler, Najimy and Parker look very happy playing the Sandersons. On Monday it was heralded as the best theatrical release to date for Disney+.

“Being on set with them was a joy,” Escobedo said. “I think they know the character so well now that coming back was refreshing for them, this time they got into the fun.”

Escobedo noted that the second film is more focused on the sisterhood between girls and the strong bonds of friendship than the first.

“And the Sanderson sisters are not the villains, I think this movie does a good job of showing the world that they have been misunderstood,” he said. “And that’s what I love about this one, that you really learn from them and how they became what they are.”

Escobedo said that in his life magic is something that has always been present.

“I cleanse from time to time, when I need it, I take an egg and pass it over my body and then I break it into a glass of water,” he said. “Many of my friends do (magic things) so they teach me little by little… They are little things that you grow with and then you realize that oh that’s magic!”.

Both of his parents’ family is of Mexican origin. His grandparents immigrated from the country and his parents were born in the United States, but Escobedo supports family across the border and has traveled to visit them.

“Sinaloa, Zacatecas and Tijuana”, he mentioned about the regions where his relatives originate. “They are everywhere.”

Escobedo speaks a little Spanish and writes poetry, mainly in English, although he also has works in Spanish. When he was in high school he used to do “spoken word” performances and you can see some of his performances in videos on the internet.

“It seems to me that poetry is one of the easiest arts, because it is so individual, a train of thought can be poetry, it is simply putting your story on paper,” he said. “I highly recommend poetry because it really is the greatest way to express yourself…you can read four lines of poetry and it can make you cry, there are magic words and I feel like poetry is the best way to cast a spell on people.”

Next year Escobedo, who has also worked as a model, will star in the DC Comics movie “Blue Beetle” alongside Xolo Maridueña. The film portrays a boy of Mexican origin who finds a beetle that gives him superpowers.

“I’m excited about that, it will be another great work for the Latino community,” Escobedo said.

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