Last updated Sunday, December 11, 2016 2:00 pm GMT+8

Wednesday October 19, 2016
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Guy Ritchie will direct Disney’s live action version of ‘Aladdin’. — file picGuy Ritchie will direct Disney’s live action version of ‘Aladdin’. — file picLOS ANGELES, Oct 19 — Around 15 live action films inspired by animated classics are due to land in movie theatres from 2017. Disney, Sony, Warner Bros and Fox are all working on upcoming productions, sometimes with projects based on the same character.

Following the box office success of Cinderella, Maleficent, Alice in Wonderland and The Jungle Book, Disney is to turn more of its animated classics into live-action feature films with human actors. A new addition to the list of live-action remakes lands in 2017, with Beauty and the Beast (March 17), directed by Bill Condon, starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci and Emma Thompson. The following year, Mary Poppins makes a comeback in Rob Marshall’s Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer, due out during the holiday season.

Other studios joining the party

Disney isn’t the only studio working on live-action remakes. Sony, Warner Bros and Fox all have projects in the pipeline, sometimes with considerable overlap. In fact, there are two separate versions of Mulan, Pinocchio and Tinker Bell currently in the works.

The Chinese warrior Mulan, made famous by Disney’s 1998 animation, will be the star of two live-action feature films. The Disney version, scheduled for fall 2018, will be penned by one of the screenwriters working on upcoming instalments of Avatar. Sony is also on the case, moving one step ahead of Disney by signing up a director, Alex Graves (Game of Thrones, Homeland) for its Mulan project.

The Italian puppet is also set for two new movie adaptations, one from Warner, directed by Ron Howard and starring Robert Downey Jr as Geppetto, and one from Disney, still in the early stages of development. The Peter Pan character Tinker Bell is doing the double too, played by Reese Witherspoon for Disney and by Melissa McCarthy in a comedy version for Fox, directed by Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum).

Big Hollywood names

No matter what studio is behind the adaptations, each movie is on a mission to sign up big-name actors and directors. Guy Ritchie is set to go behind the camera for Aladdin. Jon Favreau, who has previous experience in this particular field as The Jungle Book director, has signed up for more with a new Lion King project. David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon) is working on a new version of Peter Pan, Sam Mendes is to direct James and the Giant Peach and Tim Burton is behind a live-action Dumbo.

Hollywood heavyweights are being signed up to star in front of the camera too. After bagging Emma Watson for Beauty and the Beast and Emily Blunt for Mary Poppins, Disney has signed up Emma Stone to play the famous Cruella de Vil. Chloe Moretz was also set to star as its live action Little Mermaid, but the actress recently pulled out of the project, overseen by director, Rebecca Thomas.

This list of famous names will no doubt get longer in the coming years. Disney, for example, already envisages live-action movies based on Merlin, Winnie the Pooh, Show White’s sister Rose Red, and Prince Charming. — AFP-Relaxnews

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