Jennifer Saunders, Eddie Izzard and Bill Bailey join fantasy movie Man & Witch | Cast also includes Pauline McLynn and Reginald D. Hunter

Jennifer Saunders, Eddie Izzard and Bill Bailey join fantasy movie Man & Witch

Cast also includes Pauline McLynn and Reginald D. Hunter

Jennifer Saunders, Eddie Izzard and  Bill Bailey have joined the cast of the forthcoming romantic comedy fantasy film Man & Witch.

The trio voice a goose, sheep, and donkey, respectively, in the family film about a lonely goatherd looking for love.

Their characters are brought to life with photo-realistic puppets created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, and operated by a team of puppeteers.

The donkey, goose, sheep and dog in the movie

Others joining the cast include Father Ted’s Pauline McLynn and stand-up Reginald D. Hunter, making his big-screen debut. McLynn plays the nameless goatherd's mother and  Hunter her boyfriend.

Shooting has just wrapped on the Scotland and Los Angeles after six weeks.

The comedians  join previously announced Sean Astin who portrays the dog and Greg Steinbruner, who plays the  goatherd and wrote the script.

Man & Witch also marks a return to the screen for Tami Stronach, who played the Childlike Empress in The Neverending Story but shied away from the spotlight after the 1984 film.

The actress, who plays the titular witch, said: ‘I’ve known for a while that it was time to come back to the screen. I was in New York making plays and dances, and I thought, "eventually people will just forget about the Neverending Story" and the fan mail will stop coming.

‘But the opposite happened. 80s kids grew up and now they want to share the things they love with their own kids. And there’s this huge appetite for those classic films, but also a desire to get back to what made those films so timeless. A sense of wonder, and magic, and fun. A fantasy world that feels real. That we can lose ourselves in and return to over and over as a family.

‘My father was Scottish, so shooting on location in Scotland was a dream come true. The castles, the countryside, it really looks like a fantasy kingdom anywhere you point the camera. Of course, I didn’t know how I would feel getting in front of the camera in a big way after all this time. After six, amazing weeks, now I know. It feels like coming home."

Old man with scraggly hair and dirty face with two women and a potion

Her father will be portrayed by Back to the Future star Christopher Lloyd  while the cast also includes  Daniel Portman, who played Podrick Payne in   Game of Thrones, and Strictly dancer  Giovanni Pernice.

The film is being directed by Michael Hines, who was behind all 62 episodes of Still Game.

Steinbruner said: ‘People ask us how we assembled such an incredible cast and creative team for the film, and the answer is actually pretty simple: we sent them the script.

‘The comment I’ve gotten over and over is "This is amazing. Why aren’t people making movies like this any more?" If you don’t have $100 million to put into CGI, you just have to focus on telling a great story instead. And if you do tell a good story, it turns out, that’s what great actors are all looking to work on.

‘I’m incredibly excited and humbled that so many icons - lifelong heroes of mine - came together to bring the world of Man & Witch to life.’

Man & Witch is expected to hit cinemas late this year or early next.

Published: 29 Jul 2021

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