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Former Child Star Says He Was "High" During Filming of Classic Family Movie

Hocus Pocus star Omri Katz revealed that the director called him on it.

Hocus Pocus has become such a beloved movie over the years that it finally got a sequel this September, nearly 30 years after its original release. But, even the biggest fans of the Halloween classic—who have watched it 100 times and know the lines by heart—might be surprised to hear that one of the stars of Hocus Pocus was high during production. And, no, it wasn't one of the Sanderson sisters, the group of witches played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy.

In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Omri Katz, who played teenager Max Dennison, revealed that he wasn't sober filming parts of the 1993 movie and that, at one point, the director caught on. He may have just been "experimenting" at the time, but now, the story seems very appropriate given his current career. Read on to find out more.

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Katz played one of the three main kids in Hocus Pocus.

Omri Katz in "Hocus Pocus"
Buena Vista Pictures

Hocus Pocus is about a teenager, Max, who accidentally summons a group of witches back to life from the 17th century. Max, his younger sister Dani (Thora Birch) and his crush Allison (Vinessa Shaw), then have to try and send the witches back where they came from before Halloween night ends.

He was high during parts of filming.

Omri Katz and Thora Birch in "Hocus Pocus"
Buena Vista Pictures

Katz, who was 17 when the movie was released, was recently interviewed by Entertainment Weekly along with Shaw and Jason Marsden, who voiced the cat Thackery Binx.

Katz said of his experience making the movie, "That was at an age where I started experimenting with cannabis. Let's just say some of those scenes, I was having a good old time."

The director called him out on it.

Bette Midler and Omri Katz in "Hocus Pocus"
Buena Vista Pictures

Katz explained that director Kenny Ortega pulled him aside at one point and confronted him about being under the influence.

"I'll tell you what I do remember: I was misperforming and not hitting my keys or marks," Katz said. "Kenny [Ortega, the director] comes up to me and practically grabs me by the shirt, and he was like, 'Are you high?' and I was like, 'No,' and of course I was. We got it done, but that was kind of a wake-up call, like, Omri, you've got to be a little more professional and make sure you hit your cues!"

Shaw said she remembered which scene was being filmed when this happened, and that it was one in which Midler pretended to zap him with green electric bolts.

"It was the scene when she's like, "You. There." You didn't have any lines, so…" Shaw said. Katz responded, "Yeah, but I didn't look like I was getting zapped, I looked like I was getting high!"

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Katz quit acting and embarked on a new career.

Omri Katz at Motor City Comic Con in October 2022
Brandon Nagy / Shutterstock

Katz retired from acting in the early 2000s. Now, he works with cannabis, the same substance he "experimented" with during Hocus Pocus. The former child star has an online cannabis merchandise store called The Mary Danksters, and according to Instagram, The Mary Danksters are "Exotic Craft Cannabis Cultivators."

Katz also wrote in a recent post on his own Instagram, "Slowly but surely we are getting our facility together and will have DANK product on shelves in California soon! … In the meantime if you wanna pick up some merchandise check out our store and help support the cause. We are open for business."

He'd return for another Hocus Pocus, however.

Jason Marsden, Vinessa Shaw, and Omri Katz at Motor City Comic Con in October 2022
Brandon Nagy / Shutterstock

While Katz hasn't been a professional actor for years, he told Entertainment Weekly that he would be interested in returning if there was a third Hocus Pocus movie. (He and Shaw weren't asked to return for Hocus Pocus 2. Birch was offered a cameo but wasn't able to take part.)

"I'd be 100 percent down to do it," Katz said of a third movie. But, he explained, "The witches are 30 years older, so we've got to get this done sooner than later. We can't wait another 30 years. Sorry, it's the truth! I'm sure Bette does not want to be doing this at age 98."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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