More Disney musical remakes

A scene from Disney’s 1992 animated success, Aladdin. A live-action film version of the movie musical is expected in 2019, with Guy Ritchie as director.

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BY BILLY SUTER

WITH the live-action version of the Disney musical, Beauty and The Beast, due within days, news is out that the Disney studio is also planning the live-action treatment of the animated hits Aladdin, The Lion King and Mulan.

According to online reports, Disney has already sent out a casting notice for the roles of Aladdin and Princess Jasmine for the live-action Aladdin which will be directed by Madonna’s former husband, Guy Ritchie. The movie is expected in global cinemas in 2019.

The film will be a musical based on the original Oscar-winning 1992 animated feature, which featured a score by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.

Interestingly, following calls and petitions from fans demanding that the lead characters in Aladdin and Mulan be Asian, the UK casting notice from Cindy Tolan stipulates that the characters are Middle Eastern.

The notice calls for actors between the ages of 18 and 25 who can sing and have dance experience.

Rehearsals are scheduled to begin in April, ahead of a six-month shooting period in the UK between July and January 2018, the notice states.

Actors wishing to submit must e-mail a photo and video of themselves singing to ctcastingoffice@gmail.com.

Aladdin is set in the fictional city of Agrabah, Arabia, and according to the narrator in the original animated film, is located near the Jordan River.

The remake of the 1994 hit, The Lion King, is to be directed by Jon Favreau, who directed the remake of The Jungle Book, according to a Disney studio statement.

Variety has reported that the remake of the 1998 animated hit, Mulan, centred on a brave young girl who replaces her father in an army conscription, is expected in cinemas in 2018.

Characters from the animated version of Disney’s Mulan.

The report adds that Whale Rider director Niki Caro, is the first choice to direct the film, which, according to a Hollywood Reporter article, will have its main characters cast in China.

Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver – whose credits include Jurassic World and the new Planet of the Apes movies – will provide the script.

The rush to turn animated film hits into live-action movie musicals follows the recent Disney studio success with such box-office biggies as The Jungle Book, Maleficent, Cinderella and, it is hoped, Beauty and The Beast.

Set for global release on March 17, Beauty and the Beast tells of the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle.

Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realise the kind heart of the true prince within.

The film stars Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s father; Josh Gad as LeFou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; and Ewan McGregor as Lumière, the candelabra.

Stanley Tucci plays Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Audra McDonald is Madame de Garderobe, the wardrobe; Gugu Mbatha-Raw is Plumette, the feather duster; Hattie Morahan is the enchantress; and Nathan Mack is Chip, the teacup; with Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs Potts.

Directed by Bill Condon based on the 1991 animated hit, the film’s screenplay is by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos.

The soundtrack features a remake of the popular title song by Ariana Grande and John Legend, a ballad originally performed by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson.

The new rendition of the classic song is produced by Grammy-winning veteran Ron Fair, whose music career spans 37 years as a major-label record company leader and accomplished producer, arranger, recording engineer and musical director.


4 thoughts on “More Disney musical remakes

  1. I just came across your blog as I was Googling for some info on female stereotypes – long story. Anyway, I thought I would through in my two cents (American) on the whole re-make thing.

    You wrote the above article before you had a chance to review Beauty and the Beast, but I haven’t yet read your take on it. My opinion of the movie was that it was lackluster. The visuals were stunning, but the story failed to do what seemed obvious it would do without trying – come alive. Honestly, it felt like a “remake.” The first movie by Disney was wonderful and engaging; this one had me thinking too much (like, if all the staff of the castle were turned into fixtures of the castle, were there no fixtures in the castle to begin with?). On top of that, Emma Watson could not live up to the animated character of Belle – she wasn’t as pretty (I know, that sounds weird), and she certainly couldn’t sing as well. She was practically emotionless.

    Now, with all that’s already been done, I am certainly not looking forward to a remake (live or otherwise) of Aladdin. This is where I think they should just leave things alone. I mean, seriously, how will they ever come up with anything that compares to the improvisational genius of Robin Williams? Let’s be honest, Robin Williams WAS the Genie. Aladdin was a masterpiece that cannot be duplicated simply because the real-life people behind it made it what it was.

    All of this sort of reminds me of an old argument I used to have with people about The Wizard of Oz. In my opinion there should never be a remake of Oz because Judy Garland WAS and IS Dorothy. The two are synonymous. When we see Judy Garland as Dorothy, we see Dorothy. If we see someone dressed up as Dorothy, we can tell she is acting, because the REAL Dorothy looks like Judy Garland. Does that make sense?

    So, my point is that they should leave the good movies alone and remake ones that weren’t worth watching in the first place – no one would care.

    Like

    1. Hi there. Thanks for your interest and reply.
      I am also one who has trouble with remakes, generally, but other than a few niggles and what I rated a pretty so-what performance from a tired-looking Emma Watson in ‘Beauty and the Beast’- surely Anna Kendrick in the role was a no-brainer? – I rather enjoyed a lot of the remake (see my review – I previewed it a few weeks ago – under ‘Cinema’ on my site).
      I have to agree, though, that the animated original was far superior.
      Your comment about crockery and cutlery would also apply to the original, though, of course.
      Hope you are following my site – simply leave your email address in the space provided at the end of the cover page to be notified of future posts.
      Take care.

      Like

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