Following the success of Jon Favreau‘s live-action Jungle Book movie earlier this year, Disney was keen to cash in on the film’s success and they quickly slated a sequel. Then, in late September, the studio announced they were remaking the animated classic The Lion King as a live-action film, with Favreau attached to direct. As the director of several effects-heavy films throughout his directorial career, including two Iron Man films and executive producing several other MCU movies, the man was an obvious and safe choice. So now with two live-action remakes on Favreau’s plate, which would come first: Jungle Book 2 or The Lion King?
Well, the director will still be directing both movies, but perhaps not in the order we initially expected.
In an interview with CinemaBlend, two-time Oscar winner and visual effects director on the Jungle Book, Robert Legato, revealed that The Lion King would be coming out next. “It’s the very next one [we’re doing]. We’ve already started the plans… and the updates to the various ways that we filmed [the live-action] Jungle Book, to add to and extend the art form a little bit more in Lion King.”
Legato also said that the process would be similar to the way the Jungle Book was made, with a lot of life-like animation and scenes that wouldn’t require human actors. Having already worked with Favreau on the effects-heavy film gave the team the confidence that a live-action Lion King movie could work.
“With Lion King, the only way I think we could make this movie,” said Legato, “is to have made Jungle Book before and say, ‘Yes. Take [Mowgli] out of it, look at those scenes. Yes, I believe those scenes are good. I believe we can make a movie that way.'”
The More Live-Action Remakes, The Merrier?
Disney is really putting their back behind this live-action remake of animated classics trend and is really digging into some childhood favorites. With the upcoming Beauty and the Beast film starring Emma Watson set for release March 17 next year, Sony picking up Mulan for a live-action remake in 2018, and now with The Lion King moving ahead on the schedule, and Jungle Book 2 on the back-burner, it’ll be interesting to see if this formula will prove to be an ongoing money-maker for studios.
It’s hard not to wonder what animated classics studios will pick up next for a live-action remake. Some movies seem more suited for the live-action touch than others. While on the surface, The Lion King would appear to be less conducive to a live-action remake, its powerful and iconic story along with a more than capable crew will make it interesting to see if Favreau can work his magic on this one too.
[Written by Kitty Bates and Colette Smith]