I've written so many articles in the past year and a half where I've referenced things that I saw at the D23 Expo in Anaheim back in the summer of 2017 that I've lost count. But the BIG one - the one that everyone was talking about - was the "circle of life" teaser that filmmaker Jon Favreau presented from his reimagining of THE LION KING. In one sense it's the latest in the string of live-action updates to the classic Disney animated film catalog, but how do you call something "live-action" when everything on screen is a digital creation? It's astonishing how far we've come, and if you thought The Jungle Book was spectacular, just wait until you see what's embedded below... the very first teaser for Disney's THE LION KING.
He's come a long way from playing Gutter in the cult-classic, PCU, and now Jon Favreau is firing-up the hyperdrive and heading toward a galaxy far, far away. This morning, Lucasfilm announced that the Emmy-nominated producer and actor has signed on to executive produce and write a live-action Star Wars series for Disney’s new direct-to-consumer platform. Favreau has played roles in both the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series and has a role in the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story.
At the D23 Expo in Anaheim this summer, I was in the room when Jon Favreau walked on stage to present a first-look at early footage from his reimagining of THE LION KING. I truly wish that all of you could see it, because it's phenomenal. Still, it was unfinished, but an evolution of the photorealistic animation that Favreau did so well with on last year's THE JUNGLE BOOK. Today comes word from Disney that the cast for this new vision for the 1994 animated classic has been assembled. See the full lineup below!
Get ready for a new trip to The Pride Lands, as The Walt Disney Studios confirmed this morning that it's partnering with Director Jon Favreau for a reimagining of THE LION KING, currently "on the fast track to production." Given the success of Disney's other recent live-action "contemporary" versions of its famous tales, it was pretty much expected that THE LION KING would eventually happen, but with the massive triumph of Favreau's THE JUNGLE BOOK, he certainly proved that there's no better person for the job.
One of this year's biggest films is coming home... Disney's THE JUNGLE BOOK will be available early on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on August 23, and on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On-Demand on August 30 (a 3D Blu-ray will be released later this year - date TBA). In addition to being one of my favorites of 2016 thus far, I was fortunate to have attended it's red carpet premiere and conducted interviews with Director Jon Favreau and much of the cast back in April (see all coverage here). Check out all the features on the in-home release below...
"I think it's very close to what Rudyard Kipling envisioned, which was an enormous leap in his imagination -- a child literally living with and talking with animals." That's how Sir Ben Kingsley described his first impressions of Disney's THE JUNGLE BOOK as he joined a group of 25 writers for some discussion leading into the film's record-breaking recent release. "With all respect to its predecessor in the '60's, that was an animated cartoon child talking to animated cartoons, but this is a little boy, and we are blessed with him. Neel [Sethi] is amazing! What you see is he's with animals, which is wonderful!" In the film, Sir Ben provides the voice of Bagheera, a black panther that helps raise Mowgli, serving somewhat as an overseer after placing the young man-cub in the care of wolves Rashka (voiced by Lupita Nyong'o) and Akela (voiced by Giancarlo Esposito). "I didn't see him as a father figure at all," recalls Sir Ben, "But I did see him in military terms as if I was training a young cadet into how to survive in, in particular circumstances. "