In an effort to remain relevant to an aging fan-base, as well as new generations, Disney has been remaking many of their classic animated movies into live-action films.
This movement started with “Alice in Wonderland” in 2010, a quirky Tim Burton film starring Johnny Depp, followed closely by “Maleficent” in 2014.
While not exactly a remake of the original princess movie, “Sleeping Beauty,” “Maleficent” (starring Angelina Jolie) was a prequel about the backstory of the woman that cursed Aurora.
“Cinderella,” released in 2015, was the first true princess movie Disney remade. It wasn’t a musical but still attracted an enormous crowd at the theaters, fans excited to see one of their favorite princesses and the magic of the story adapted by an actual actress.
“The Jungle Book,” released in 2016, was a much darker rendition of the original musical cartoon, but was made memorable by its life-like animation.
Of course, just this past month audiences saw the release of the second princess remake, “Beauty and the Beast,” starring Emma Watson as Belle.
The movie is still enjoying success at the box office as fans young and old flock to the theater.
Disney still has plenty of live-action remake projects in the work, many movies set to come out in just the next few years.
Having just recently been fast-tracked by Disney’s production company, “The Lion King” remake is set to release the summer of next year. Disney is choosing to reprise this classic more than 20 years after its original release in 1994 and its continuous popularity as a Broadway show.
Jon Favreau, who directed “The Jungle Book” in 2016, has been hired for this movie as well, leading to the assumption that it will be given a similar CGI treatment.
As far as casting goes, Donald Glover has been confirmed as Simba and James Earl Jones will make a reappearance as Mufasa. Favreau has expressed interest in casting Beyoncé as Nala, a role the singer would surely not be opposed to, considering her burgeoning young family.
“Mulan” may be the most controversial of these reboots. Set to release in 2018, producers have already announced that the film will not be a musical. The character, Li Shang, has also allegedly been removed from the plot, but creators denied that there would be a potential European trader as a love interest.
There was some speculation over whether or not the film would be “white-washed” and if an Asian actress would play Mulan or not. There was even a rumor early on that Jennifer Lawrence may have been considered for the part, but as of right now there is no confirmed cast.
The director, Niki Caro, admitted this week that she hasn’t started working on it, but that “a big, girly martial arts epic. It will be extremely muscular and thrilling and entertaining and moving.” The lack of animation has audiences wondering what will become of everyone’s favorite animated dragon, Mushu.
“Mary Poppins,” while already a live-action film, is also getting re-imagined in “Mary Poppins Returns,” set for a Christmas 2018 release date. Emily Blunt has allegedly signed on to fill Julie Andrews immensely talented shoes. Dick Van Dyke will be making an appearance. The film will supposedly take place 20 years after the original, with the children as adults. Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury and Lin Manuel Miranda are also signed on.
Cruella de Vil, the villain from “101 Dalmatians,” will be getting her own film titled simply “Cruella.” Her story will be getting the “Maleficent” treatment, showcasing her background and origin story. Emma Stone is set to star and there is currently a rough release date for 2018, as well. While there aren’t many details about the movie yet, rest assured that it will be exciting if the plot line has anything to do with puppies.
“The Little Mermaid,” while not exactly green-lit by Disney yet, is certainly in the works, with reports of Lin Manuel Miranda and Marc Platt have been brought on to produce. Alan Menken, who co-created the 1989 original, is also on board. Universal Studios had a Little Mermaid project, as well, starring Chloe Grace Moretz, but that fell through.
Currently there is no set cast or release date for the Disney re-imagining, but many well-known actresses are being considered for the role of Ariel, with Lindsay Lohan even expressing desire to play the red-head.
“Peter Pan” may be the most adapted film Disney has put out, with movies such as “Hook” in 1991, starring Robin Williams as an adult Peter, a live-action “Peter Pan” in 2003, “Finding Neverland,” starring Kate Winslet in 2004, the NBC special broadcast of “Peter Pan Live!” in 2014 and “Pan” starring Hugh Jackman in 2015. But, since none of these other non-Disney adaptations of the original J.M. Barrie story enjoyed much success, Disney is taking another shot. David Lowery has already signed on as director of this remake, and Toby Hallbrooks as writer. This movie has no release date.
Reese Witherspoon is rumored to star as Tinkerbell in “Tink,” a film focusing on Peter Pan’s sassy fairy accomplice. This film is following after the success of a series of animated Tinkerbell movies released on the Disney Channel. The movie’s production has no timeline but Witherspoon is also signed on as producer as well as star. It is unclear whether or not Witherspoon will also appear in the “Peter Pan” remake.
Said to be a “non-linear and non-traditional” take on the original, director Guy Ritchie will be directing the live-action version of “Aladdin.” It will feature all of the original songs. According to Mirror, a casting call for Middle Eastern characters was recently released. While nothing is official, actor Luke Pasqualino has been linked to the role of Aladdin. Due to his will, none of Robin William’s footage or outtakes as Genie can be used. There is no release date set for this film yet.
“Snow White” is also in line to get a remake. Disney’s very first animated feature-film and princess story has seen a bit of a resurgence in popularity with the two recent adaptation “Mirror, Mirror,” starring Lily Collins and Julia Roberts and “Snow White and the Huntsman,” starring Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth. “La La Land” songwriters, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul have signed on to work on new music for the reboot.
Other films that are rumored to be getting this live-action, modernized treatment include “Dumbo,” which Tim Burton, Tom Hanks, Danny Devito and Colin Farrell are already signed on to, “Sleeping Beauty,” “Pinocchio,” a “Winnie the Pooh” adaptation which will focus primarily on Christopher Robin returning to The Hundred-Acre Wood, as well as sequels to the already successful “Maleficent” and “The Jungle Book.”
Julia Mancini is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at Julia.firstname.lastname@example.org.