Hollywood stars descend on southern Maine to film new witch movie

Holly Taylor, playing the character Paige Jennings on the FX spy drama "The Americans," is hugged by costar Matthew Rhys. (Photo courtesy FX/TNS)

Holly Taylor, playing the character Paige Jennings on the FX spy drama “The Americans,” is hugged by costar Matthew Rhys. (Photo courtesy FX/TNS)

Portland, Brunswick and Bath will be the primary shooting locations for a new movie “The Witch Files,” a film by University of Southern Maine graduate Kyle Rankin and one that could perhaps be described as a cross between “The Breakfast Club” and “Harry Potter.”

But although Rankin tapped locals for much of the cast and crew of the movie, some of the stars he’s bringing to the Pine Tree State are well-known in Hollywood.

The cast includes Paget Brewster, perhaps best known for a six-year stint on the CBS drama “Criminal Minds,” as well as teen Holly Taylor from the FX spy series “The Americans” and Britt Flatmo, whose credits include the Steven Spielberg blockbuster “Super 8.”

According to a news release Sunday, the five main character witches on Monday afternoon will “descend on the Miss Portland Diner for some enchanting food that’s sure to draw a big crowd.”

Filming is to continue in Maine through the month of May, and Rankin says he plans to include and feature as many Maine places and brands as he can.

Here’s a synopsis of what fans can expect in “The Witch Files:”

“Five girls from different cliques cast a spell to get out of detention, but they’re bonded into a powerful coven and come under the influence of an ancient and malicious witch. As the stakes get higher, the girls must set aside their differences to defeat their real enemy — culminating in a spectacular magical street fight in the village center.”

This is not, of course, the first time Kyle Rankin has brought the movie business to Maine. He filmed his 2014 mashup horror-dramedy “Night of the Living Deb” in the state as well, bringing recognizable stars like “Twin Peaks” star Ray Wise and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”‘s Maria Thayer here for a show.

“One of the funnest parts about ‘Deb’ was seeing our veteran filmmakers like [cinematographer] Tom Ackerman and Ray Wise be blown away by what Maine and the local community had to offer,” said Brunswick-based producer Scott Taylor, who raised money for the movie through donors and local businesses. “They were very impressed and it helped make a spectacular movie.”