Sam Mendes - director of Skyfall and American Beauty - is in talks to direct a live-action version of James and The Giant Peach, based upon the novel by Roald Dahl. If he takes this job, it will see him moving away from Eon Productions, who whom he has directed two James Bond films, and towards Disney, who are looking to capitalize on the immense success of their live-action adaptations of existing animated properties.
With the success of Pete's Dragon and The Jungle Book this year, Disney now have a full slate of forthcoming adaptations of pre-existing films, many of which are adaptations of children's books themselves.
Apparent remakes/retellings to look forward to include:
- Cruella (from 101 Dalmations)
- Jungle Cruise (based on a ride)
- Tink (from Peter Pan)
- Night On Bald Mountain (from Fantasia)
- The Sword in The Stone
- Winnie The Pooh
- Genies (Aladdin)
- Prince Charming (based on the popular characters brother)
That's a lot of upcoming films, but while we are at it, let's look at what other animated properties should be given the live-action treatment.
Robin Hood (1973)
Admittedly there have been many tellings of the Robin Hood story, but for me the original Disney film is right up there with Errol Flynn's The Adventures of Robin Hood as one of the best. What it understands is the innate fun that can be had with the story, making Robin Hood a likeable rogue whilst remaining an anti-authoritarian figure. With the right director (and I'd pick someone more associated with comedy than action) a live-action version of Robin Hood shouldn't go darker (as per the norm), instead recapturing the lightness, wit and swashbuckling fun of the original in the style of Pirates of The Caribbean. Also, this version could do a more with Maid Marion, letting her join in on the fun instead of just being there in order to be rescued.
The Fox and The Hound (1981)
For some reason The Fox and The Hound was the one Disney film that stuck with me the most as a kid, possibly because I found its darker themes - in which friends are separated and are pitted against one another due to society - quite affecting. In many ways it works very well as an allegory, for either war, racism and classism, in which our differences are exploited by others in order to divide us. Given the current political climate it seems that we need the smarts of The Fox and The Hound more than ever - a revamp showing just how conditioned our ideas can be by society.
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Bambi is an undeniably heartwarming movie, yet one that contains one of the most harrowing scenes in cinematic history. Perhaps a live-action version of Bambi could use the inspiration of The Revenant to build an entire film around that scene, creating a harrowing survival in the woods tale, as Bambi has to rely entirely on her wits in order to evade the men trying to kill her. Not sure if it will be received very well, but it would be highly entertaining.
Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
I know I'm cheating here, but considering that Disney have the rights to most of Studio Ghibli, that would probably give them the right to remake Kiki's Delivery Service, one of the most joyous, wonderful films ever made, and not just in the world of animation. Telling the story of a young girl who wants to make it as a witch, but first has to overcome her own fears and anxieties, it is an indelible, gorgeously rendered portrait of what it means to move somewhere by yourself and start a new life. Given that we live in a post-Harry Potter society, the world is ripe for a live-action version of the best witch in film.
What Would YOU Like To See A Live-Action Version Of?