Sean Bailey, the president of Motion Picture Production at Walt Disney Studios, had some updates on the upcoming live action Mulan and Aladdin fims in an interview with Vulture. He goes into great detail on on recent live action remakes of classic animation films, including Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Maleficent (which is not really a remake, but a live action version of Sleeping Beauty through the eyes of the villain) and Beauty and the Beast, which opens in theaters today. Beauty and the Beast is likely to beat Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice for the biggest opening ever in March.
Fans have been anticipating the live action Mulan film since it was first announced. This film, about a young woman during the Han Dynasty who dresses as a man to become a great warrior, has been a fan favorite since its release in 1998, and is based on an actual historical figure. Bailey told the site, “’Mulan is clearly an empowered-female story but we can also do something new in this reimagining, make it a little more muscular, stronger, with touch of Ridley Scott.’. (Sources close to production say that, unlike Aladdin or Beauty and the Beast, Mulan is not expected to prominently feature songs, though that could change.)” It would be an interesting choice to do a non-musical version of this film, but the historical figure would certainly give Disney a lot more to work with. A non-musical, live action Mulan would also, as it was pointed out in the article, likely be a positive thing for the Chinese market.
Bailey also spoke about director Guy Ritchie and how he got involved with the live action Aladdin, as well as what his style could bring to the film. “Guy became interested in doing a Disney movie and we talked a lot about it. When we talked about Aladdin, he said, ‘My stories are really about street hustlers. That’s what I know how to do. And Aladdin is a classic street hustler who makes good.’ Guy’s got his own version of that story in his life. But he wanted to honor and respect the Disney of it all. We never want to feel like we have a playbook to these things because we worry it’ll make us creatively complacent. The idea of a highly energized Guy Ritchie Disney musical felt like, Oh, we haven’t done that before.”
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