There was something of an uproar last month when is was announced that Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book) would be setting his sights on a new reimagining of Walt Disney Feature Animation classic The Lion King (1994). Now news arrives via Deadline that Jeff Nathanson (The Terminal) will be writing the script for the new project.
Nathanson has lent his scriptwriting abilities to films such as Catch Me If You Can (2002), The Terminal (2004) and Tower Heist (2011), in addition to a long list of work, both credited and not, as a screenplay doctor for hire. Now Nathanson will be tackling the challenge of converting one of Disney's best loved animated features.
Favreau is still basking in the billion dollar afterglow of his wildly successful live action and digital effects blended The Jungle Book (1967) remake, and it is safe to assume he will redeploy the same digital effects heavy performance capture methods for The Lion King. That said, without any human characters, there may be no live action elements at all this time around.
The original Lion King, loosely based on Shakespeare's Hamlet, was released in 1994 at the peak of Disney's 1990s renaissance, and remains the highest grossing hand drawn animated film of all time. It became almost as famous for its Grammy and Academy Award® winning Elton John and Tim Rice soundtrack, and spawned a successful Broadway musical which has run for 19 years.
The new film will also include songs from the film, in keeping with the practice of most of Disney's recent remakes.
The film has yet to lock in a release date. Nathanson's most recent job for the Mouse House was as the writer of the latest Pirates Of The Caribbean movie, known here as Salazar's Revenge. That one will dock in UK cinemas on 26 May next year.