Questlove Is The Latest To Tackle A Live-Action Remake For Disney And I’m So Intrigued By His Choice

Questlove accepting his Oscar
(Image credit: AMPAS)

Disney has been going hard on the live-action remakes of its animated movies over the last several years but one of the side effects of that is that eventually, after you’ve remade all the movies that everybody loves, eventually you’re going to get to the movies that maybe aren’t quite as well known. We’ve apparently hit that point, as Disney has reportedly tapped Questlove to helm an adaptation of The Aristocats, which is an intriguing choice for him given the movie's history.

Of the 61 movies produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios since 1937 it’s possible that 1970’s The Aristocats might be the one that is the most overlooked. It was the first film released that Walt Disney had no direct involvement, and is often seen as the beginning of a dark period in the history of Disney animation that lasted until the release of The Little Mermaid in 1989 which began the Disney Renaissance.

Having said that, Disney may have found the perfect director to breathe new life into this movie. Deadline reports that Summer of Soul Oscar winner Questlove is set to make his feature film directing debut with the film. While The Aristocats isn’t a traditional Disney animated musical, music, specifically jazz, plays a big part in the film, which makes Questlove a potentially inspired choice for director. If you do remember anything about The Aristocats, it’s probably the song “Everybody Wants to Be A Cat,” performed in the film by Scatman Crothers. It’s been rereleased and covered many times over the years. 

The Aristocats follows a group of cats living in Paris when their owner passes away. Upon learning that the rich woman has left her entire fortune to the cats, her butler devises a plan to get rid of them in order to get the money for himself. The plans for an Aristocats remake were announced last year. 

While it’s potentially a bit surprising to see Disney looking at The Aristocats for the remake treatment, the fact the movie is less well-known and not necessarily seen as a Disney “classic” is potentially good news. When Disney has remade The Lion King or Beauty and the Beas, it was inviting comparisons to some of their most popular films, which nay remake is going to have trouble with. Remaking a movie on the opposite end of the scale means the odds of getting a movie better than the original are much greater. One can't help but be curious about seeing what the musically gifted Questlove comes up with.

This project is obviously in very early stages so it will be some time before we see anything come of it. This year Disney already has a pair of remakes set for release, with The Little Mermaid hitting theaters and Peter Pan & Wendy set for Disney+. A new version of Snow White is set to open next year, and versions of Hercules and Lilo and Stitch are also in development.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.