The NeverEnding Story’s Childlike Empress Is Starring in an ’80s Fantasy Tribute Film

Say my name, say my name. (Image: Warner Bros.)
Say my name, say my name. (Image: Warner Bros.)

The Childlike Empress has grown up and she’s taking lead in a new “lo-fi fantasy film,” alongside ‘80s faces like Sean Astin, Rhea Perlman, and Christopher Lloyd. Of course, it wouldn’t be an old-school fantasy flick without some Jim Henson puppets.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Tami Stronach is starring and executive producing a new children’s fantasy film called Man & Witch. This will be the first major role she’s had since her debut in 1994’s The NeverEnding Story, where she played the Ivory Tower-dwelling Childlike Empress — a character a generation of fans became obsessed with (just look up the cosplay tips). The film — which will also star Lost’s Michael Emerson — was written by co-star (and Stronach’s husband) Greg Steinbruner and is about a witch (Stronach) who loses her heart to a “hapless goatherd” who she’s tasked with breaking a powerful curse.

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It’s fitting that Stronach is returning for a film that’s described as a “heartwarming homage to the lo-fi fantasy films of the 1980s,” considering that’s where she set her roots. It’s also where co-star Astin made his start, acting in some of the most iconic movies of the 1980s, like The Goonies and Rudy. In Man & Witch, Astin will play the character of Dog, one of a few puppet creations that the Jim Henson Creature Shop will be making for the production. The talking animals, which also include a sheep and goose, will be played by a mix of real animals and Jim Henson puppets.

This project is coming on the heels of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, which has yet to announce a (seemingly unlikely) second season, but it’s a good time for old-school puppetry to make a comeback. Production on Man & Witch is set to start this fall, pending any possible covid-19 delays, and no expected release date has been announced.

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