Everyone is talking about the new Beauty and the Beast film and early reviews show that it’s a well-made remake that stays true to the animated original.
Disney has had solid success over the last couple of years thanks to its Cinderella and The Jungle Book remakes, both of which were well received by audiences and critics alike. Cinderella won a BAFTA for its costumes and the latter won a BAFTA and Oscar for Best Visual Effects.
The early 90s saw Disney go through a renaissance with films such as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast becoming instant classics. Disney is now looking to replicate this renaissance with a combination of live action and visual effects in a wave of new films.
Here’s what’s up Mickey Mouse’s sleeve for the next few years…
Beauty and the Beast
Release Date: March 2017
Known Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans (voices of: Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellan and Emma Thompson)
Director: Bill Condon
Writer: Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos
What we know: The film’s release is imminent and a handful of clips and trailers have been released. From what we can tell, the adaptation looks pretty true to the original Disney animation, with some scenes looking like-for-like, see teacup Chip blowing bubbles at Belle and Belle doing a Sound-of-Music-style twirl atop a hill.
Emma Watson is playing Belle, excellent casting, and from the sound of the clips released, she has a beautiful singing voice to match her beautiful looks. It’s hard to tell what sort of Beast Dan Stevens will be under all the CGI, but he’s got the snarling and shouting down! Plus there’s a host of famous faces lending their voices to the animated homeware. We can’t wait to be their guest!
Mary Poppins Returns
Release Date: 2018
Known Cast: Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Emily Mortimer, Ben Whishaw, Lin Manuel Miranda
Director: Rob Marshall
Writer: David Magee
What we know: Rather than a remake, this is more of a sequel; it’s slated as Mary Poppins Returns. Emily Blunt is playing the titular character, and Julie Andrews is reportedly thrilled with the casting – and she is rumoured to be playing a part in the film herself. Disney has just released the first image of Blunt as the magical nannyk, toting her trademark carpet bag and hat.
Colin Firth is also in the line-up, we’re not surprised: he’s the go-to posh English gent. And everyone’s favourite actress Meryl Streep is also slated for the film: she’s re-joining director Rob Marshall after their musical Into The Woods. Emily Mortimer and Ben Whishaw have been cast as Jane and Michael Banks, so we can presume that the children are all grown up now, but Mary Poppins doesn’t seem to have aged. We’re also excited to see Hamilton’s Lin Manuel Miranda joining the cast, he’s bound to bring some Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious fun, song and dance to the film. We can’t wait to see how it all plays out!
101 Dalmatians (Cruella)
Release Date: (pre-production) 2018
Known Cast: Emma Stone
Writer: Kelly Marcel
What we know: Much like Maleficent, this will be an origin story of a Disney villain. Emma Stone has been cast as the devilish fashionista and with her big, animated eyes she’ll be great at showing a range of emotion, although it remains to be seen whether she started out as a nice person and went through something to turn her evil or if she was always bad to the bone.
Release Date: November 2018
Known Cast: None (Jamie Chung, Zhang Ziyi, Malese Jow and Rinko Kikuchi rumoured for lead)
Director: Niki Caro
Writer: Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver
What we know: At this point, we don’t know much, It will be interesting to see how the casting plays out – there were rumours that Jennifer Lawrence would play title role, but these have been shut down with Disney confirming that they would not “whitewash” the film and all primary roles will be played by Chinese and Asian actors. There are a lots of names in the mix to play the heroine at the moment… so it will be interesting to see who wins the part of Mulan, and who will be the wise-cracking Dragon, Mushu, originally voiced by Eddie Murphy.
The Lion King
Release Date: (pre-production) TBC
Known Cast: (Voices) Donald Glover, James Earl Jones
Director: Jon Favreau
Writer: Jeff Natanson
What we know: This is going to be another CGI remake of a classic animal cartoon, much like the Jungle Book. In fact, John Favreau directing after his success with the Jungle Book. The Jungle Book 2 has reportedly been put on hold while The Lion King is in planning and production.
In terms of voice casting, Donald Glover will be Simba: he is the next big thing in Hollywood, and was recently cast as young Han Solo in Star Wars reboot. James Earl Jones is returning as Mufasa after voicing him in the original animation – it’s so iconic, nobody else could really do it, but it will be interesting to see if he plays the role any differently.
Release Date: (pre production) 2018
Known Cast: (Rumoured: Will Smith, Tom Hanks)
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Ehren Kruger
What we know: Tim Burton has signed on as director for the Dumbo remake, which seems an interesting choice as Burton is known for his kooky, Gothic style – he will no doubt work wonders with the Pink Elephants scene, but does he have the delicacy to handle Dumbo’s tender relationship with his mother? According to the Hollywood Reporter, “The new take involves the adaptation of the original movie while adding a unique family story that parallels Dumbo’s story.” It has been reported that real elephants will not be used: the film will be a combination of live action and CG technology, which will be used for the elephants.
Release Date: TBC
Known Cast: None
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writer: John August
What we know: Disney has recently recreated the Aladdin story on stage for Broadway and the West End, which has received rave reviews, and now they are bringing it back to the big screen too. Guy Ritchie will be directing so it will be interesting to see how he updates the traditional story – maybe he will make it gritty and action-packed like he did with the Sherlock Holmes re-launch. Dan Lin, who was a producer on the Sherlock Holmes movies for Warner Bros, is producing what Disney says will be an ambitious and non-traditional take on Aladdin.
It will be interesting to see how they recreate the Genie that was made so iconic in the original by the late Robin Williams. Slash Film reported that there’s tons of unused material left over from Williams’ recording sessions from the 1992 film, but he reportedly left behind a will that prevents Disney from using any of it for the next two decades.
The Little Mermaid
Release Date: TBC
Known Cast: None
Writer: Lin Manuel Miranda (music)
What we know: Confusingly, as well as the Disney remake, Focus Films was also in the process of making a film (much like when we had Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror Mirror released around the same time) and Chloe Moretz was attached to the Focus project, but has since pulled out to focus on herself. Disgraced Disney darling Lindsay Lohan has offered herself up for the role but is probably too old to play the 16-year-old mermaid, even if her hair is the right colour.
One thing we do know is that Lin Manuel Miranda will be writing the music alongside Alan Menkin after his success on the Moana soundtrack. Miranda is a big fan of The Little Mermaid, he even named his son Sebastian after the crab in the film!