Omri Katz Reveals He Was High While Filming “Hocus Pocus”: “I Was Having a Good Old Time”

Omri Katz Reveals He Was High While Filming “Hocus Pocus”: “I Was Having a Good Old Time”

HOCUS POCUS, Omri Katz, Thora Birch, 1993, (c) Buena Vista/courtesy Everett Collection

According to Omri Katz, aka the cynical protagonist Max from “Hocus Pocus,” the then-16-year-old almost got in major trouble for being high on set of the 1993 film. In an Oct. 26 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Katz recalled, “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.”

Despite his best efforts, though, Katz said he wasn’t good at disguising his behind-the-scenes habit, which quickly made him a subject of suspicion. While he can’t recall exactly which scenes became problematic, he does know that members of the crew eventually started catching on. “I’ll tell you what I do remember: I was misperforming and not hitting my keys or marks. 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,” Katz said.

Thanks to Ortega’s confrontation, however, Katz was able to pull himself together for an iconic performance that remains a Halloween favorite to this day. He added, “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!'”

Although he may not be able to pinpoint the exact moments that started raising eyebrows, his costar Vinessa Shaw (Allison) said she definitely remembered one, pointing to a particular scene in the very beginning of the movie, in which Bette Midler’s Winifred Sanderson hits Max with a bolt of green magic. “I didn’t look like I was getting zapped,” Katz confirmed. “I looked like I was getting high.”