Thursday, September 29, 2016
Disney's "Lion King" Next To Go To Live Action
While the film has always been a family favorite, it's the stage version and blending of human and animal (along with storytelling and song) that has inspired a generation to further explore story telling, folktales, folklore, fables and representation of "world peoples" in Western pop culture. While we've met many people who loved the film, for the majority it's their experience of the Broadway play that changed their world view and inspired them in different creative fields.
The clear success - even by Executive standards - of Favreau's approach to a live action re-imagining of The Jungle Book for Disney, has inspired confidence that the company can repeat, and hopefully eclipse, that success with one of it's hottest animal properties, The Lion King.
Here's the announcement:
With the word "reimagining" (a hot word in the media right now, if you hadn't noticed) being key to this announcement, you can be sure fable, folklore and fairy tale folk will be watching how this is done, and how it's received by the public. Will they have singing animals, similar to The Jungle Book approach? Or shall we be treated to a new blending of human and animal which has more in common with the play? While the likelihood is that they will follow the successful formula of The Jungle Book, storytellers around the world should be watching too, as rumors of using a(nother) 'unique approach' to the narrative are strongly hinted as, as well.
HERE does a good job of recreating key animated scenes in live action, (with generous use of the Aslan animation from Disney's production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), we can expect something very different.
It's a risky step, with such a unique and beloved stage play, already so different from the animated film. It's hard to imagine that a way of telling the story so very differently from the film, as was used on Broadway, will evolve. Disney has a long history of live action films and talking animals and without the use of unique media to change the delivery method from storyteller to audience (such as live puppetry that immerses the audience and involves them in the story), it's easiest to imagine this just use similar techniques to The Jungle Book, minus humans this time, and rely on the audience wanting more.
But you never know. We've been happily surprised once - thrilled even - by how this story evolved when it moved to stage and live action is a different medium to animation, so perhaps we'll be pleasantly surprised again.
ALERT: Tomorrow we'll be posting as complete a list of fairy tale and fantasy movies in the works by Disney, both in live action and animation. Although it won't be a complete list of everything in the works (eg we won't be including Wreck It Ralph II since the fairy tale/folklore tie-ins are minimal-to-none as far as we can see), it's still a pretty long list, and deserving of it's own post. (Heck - you may want to bookmark it, just so you have the list handy!)