Disney has received a lot of praise (and money) for the the way it’s handled both its traditional animated films and live action Marvel projects. So it stands to reason that Disney could make even more money if they unceremoniously mashed the two ideas together like some sort of Mickey Mouse-inspired David Cronenberg character.
In recent years, Disney has begun remaking its classic princess stories into edgy, modern live action films. Results have been mixed. Some of them have been huge successes, while others… have starred Johnny Depp. Not to be deterred, Disney has decided to forge ahead. Here are all of Disney’s upcoming live action projects.
1. The Jungle Book
Release Date: April 15, 2016
Disney’s 3D live action remake of The Jungle Book promises a dark take on Rudyard Kipling‘s classic book. The movie will be directed by Jon Favreau and written by Justin Marks. The film will feature a star studded cast including Neel Sethi (as Mowgli), Lupita Nyong’o and Giancarlo Esposito (as the Indian wolves Raksha and Akela), Idris Elba (as the Bengal tiger Shere Khan), Ben Kingsley (as the panther Bagheera), Bill Murray (as Baloo the bear), Scarlett Johansson (as the python Kaa), and Christopher Walken (as King Louie).
Director Jon Favreau decided to cast Scarlett Johansson as Kaa (a male character in the original film), because he felt the 1967 version was “a little too male-oriented.” Additionally, King Louie was changed from an orangutan to a “Gigantopithecus” since orangutans aren’t actually native to India, where the story takes place.
Richard M. Sherman, who wrote the original songs for the 1967 classic will return to pen the new film’s soundtrack. Some classic tunes will be back including “The Bare Necessities” which will be sung by Bill Murray and “Trust in Me” which was recorded by Johansson and even appeared in the film’s teaser trailer.
2. Alice Through the Looking Glass
Release Date: May 27, 2016
A follow-up to Tim Burton‘s 2010 film Alice in Wonderland is scheduled to be released in 2016. While Burton himself is not returning (director James Bobin will helm the sequel), actors Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Mia Wasikowska will all reprise their roles. Sacha Baron Cohen has also joined the cast as the villain Time and Alan Rickman recorded his lines for the Blue Catipillar before his untimely death. Alice Through the Looking Glass will be the actor’s final film.
3. The BFG
Release Date: July 1, 2016
The BFG (or Big Friendly Giant) is an adaptation of Roald Dahl‘s novel of the same name. This film will be directed by Steven Spielberg and will star Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader and Jemaine Clement.
Producers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy originally began working on the adaptation in 1991, with Robin Williams set to play the titular role. The project was later shelved until 2014 when it was announced Spielberg would direct the film. “The BFG has enchanted families and their children for more than three decades,” Spielberg said, “We are honored that the Roald Dahl estate has entrusted us with this classic story.”
4. Pete’s Dragon
Release Date: August 12, 2016
In 2013, Disney announced a remake of the 1977 classic Pete’s Dragon starring Oakes Fegley, Oona Laurence, Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard, Wes Bentley, and Karl Urban. The film is to be written by David Lowery and Toby Halbrooks and the dragon, Elliot, will be entirely CGI animated rather than hand-drawn.
5. Mohenjo Daro
Release Date: August 12, 2016
Disney is currently working on an Indian epic adventure-romance starring Hrithik Roshan and Pooja Hegde. The film is set in the Indus River Valley city of Mohenjo Daro during 2600 BC. Director Ashutosh Gowariker explained that “While the plot will follow the discovery of Mohenjo Daro and the culture and the vibe of the ancient civilization, it will largely center on a love story.”
Because there is a lack of information about the period, Gowariker met with over a half dozen archaeologists over the course of three years in order to accurately represent the food, lifestyle, and beliefs of the time. He even visited the archaeological site of Dholavira.
6. Beauty and the Beast
Release Date: March 17, 2017
After the “success” of other live action adaptations like Maleficent and Cinderella, Disney announced a live action version of Beauty and the Beast. Bill Condon is set to direct, while Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) will write the script. The adaptation will draw inspiration from not just the original animated film, but also the Broadway musical. Composer Alan Menken will return to write the score, which will include songs from the original film as well as new tracks.
On January 26, 2015 is was announced that Emma Watson would be starring as Belle. Susan Egan, who played Belle in the Broadway adaptation called Watson’s casting “perfect” and Paige O’Hara, who voiced Belle in the animated film, even offered to give Watson singing lessons.
Other casting choices include Luke Evans (as Gaston), Dan Stevens (as the Beast), Josh Gad (as LeFou), Emma Thompson (as Mrs. Potts), and Kevin Kline (as Belle’s father, Maurice). Members of Beast’s household staff include Audra McDonald (as Garderobe, the wardrobe), Ian McKellen (as Cogsworth, the clock), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (as Plumette, the feather duster), Ewan McGregor (as Lumière, the candelabra), and Stanley Tucci (as Cadenza, a grand piano and original character for the live action film).
7. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Release Date: May 26, 2017
Pre-production on Dead Men Tell No Tales, the fifth installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, started as early as 2011. However, after Disney lost nearly $190 million on The Lone Ranger (another Johnny Depp film), the studio began questioning the bankability of not just Johnny Depp, but the Pirates franchise as well. The project went through a series of delays and re-writes before finally being given the green light.
Directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg and written by Jeff Nathanson, Dead Men Tell No Tales is intended as a soft-reboot of the franchise. The film will be heavily inspired by the original movie, The Curse of the Black Pearl, and actress Kaya Scodelario told Digital Spy that the new movie “will have much more of the feel of the first film, the producers want to take it back to the beginning again. They wanted it to have this epic journey, and for it to make sense, and for it to tie things up, and also lead to new storylines.”
The film will star Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally, and Geoffrey Rush, and will feature the return of Orlando Bloom as Will Turner. Speaking about his return to the franchise, Bloom said, “I’m of course Davy Jones now, so I’m down the bottom of the ocean. It might be kind of fun to do something where I’m rumbling round the bottom of the ocean, because I won’t look anything like me. [Gestures to face] Get all gnarly.”
8. Artemis Fowl
Release Date: TBA
An Artemis Fowl movie has been in development hell for over a decade. In 2013, Disney announced an adaptation of the first two Artemis Fowl books developed by Harry Potter writter Michael Goldenberg (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). Kenneth Branagh will serve as director, while Irish playwright Conor McPherson will pen the script.
9. The Water Man
Release Date: TBA
The Wrap recently reported that Oprah Winfrey is set to produce a Disney film titled The Water Man, the first screenplay from NYU graduate Emma Needell. The film tells the story of a young boy who sets off to find The Water Man, a legendary figure who holds to power to save his sick mother. The elevator pitch for the movie was described as “Stand By Me with an E.T. vibe.”
10. Untitled Live Action Fairy Tale
Release Date: December 22, 2017, November 2, 2018, and March 29, 2019
Right now, Disney has reserved four slots for “live-action fairy tale films,” which might include any number of planned films. Live action Disney films not yet slated for release include remakes of 101 Dalmatians (titled Cruella), Dumbo, Mulan, Winnie the Pooh, Pinocchio, and The Sword in the Stone, as well as untitled sequels to both Maleficent and Oz the Great and Powerful.
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