AceShowbiz - "The Craft: Legacy" writer/director Zoe Lister-Jones was so committed to addressing modern race and gender norms she decided one of her leading characters should be a transgender Latina.
The actress-turned-filmmaker also recruited a transgender issues expert as a script consultant to make sure there was nothing in her film - a revamp of cult classic "The Craft" - that could upset the LGBTQ community.
"If you are telling the story of young women stepping into their power, Trans women must be included in that narrative," she says.
And producer Jason Blum was thoroughly behind his director's vision, adding, "We worked closely with GLAAD, who really helped us find the right people, and they were very instrumental in the casting process for us. GLAAD helped us write breakdowns. They helped us get the word out and gave us specific casting suggestions."
As a result, Latina transgender activist and actress Zoey Luna was cast as Lourdes.
Lister-Jones also hired three witch experts, including Pam Grossman, the author of "Waking the Witch: Reflections of Women, Magic, and Power", and Bri Luna, as consultants to make sure the film was grounded in actual tradition and custom.
"I wanted to be really respectful of the witchcraft community and the varying traditions of witchcraft," the director explains. "Pam, Bri and Aerin (Fogel) each come from different traditions... Aerin would close and open circles for us authentically at the beginning and end of each shooting day."
"On our first day of shooting, she led a ceremony for 10 of us women. It was an incredible ritual - an intention-setting ceremony for the film. And it was so moving. I thought, 'Why aren't we doing this for every project?' It's not just Wicca - it's the traditions of West Africa or Latin America or Eastern Europe. It really embodies the intersectionality of what feminism should look like - and witchcraft is very much about embodying the divine feminine."
"All of the actresses related to a lot of the witchy things in the script. They were sharing their zodiac signs, what crystals they had... and they were comparing their rising signs. They were embodying their characters as they all fell in love with each other. It was kismet."