With director Bill Condon and Walt Disney Pictures’ live-action Beauty and the Beast dancing its way into theaters and box office records this weekend, WDP studio production president Sean Bailey gave updates on two of the studios’ upcoming live-action adaptations of animated classics in an interview with Vulture.
Disney Animation’s 1998 feature Mulan has been a major staple in Disney’s Princess brand and deemed a modern classic of the 90’s Disney renaissance era. The live-action adaptation, due November 2nd, 2018, began its casting process late last year and, according to Bailey, may be more action-oriented and less musical than the animated feature. Bailey stated, “’Mulan is clearly an empowered-female story but we can also do something new in this re-imagining, make it a little more muscular, stronger, with touch of Ridley Scott.” The comparison to director Ridley Scott may bring the Disney tale to the grounded levels of historical film epics like Scott’s Gladiator.
The job to direct the adaptation of 1992’s Aladdin fell to Guy Ritchie (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Sherlock Holmes) and Bailey spoke of how Ritchie’s style of directing films with streetwise protagonists fits well with the story of the “street rat” Aladdin. Bailey told the website, “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.” With no release date yet set, Aladdin is currently having an open casting call for young actresses to play Princess Jasmine.