Maleficent wasn’t a game-changer. It was, instead, the latest in what is now becoming the status quo: Live-action takes on one-time animated classics that will attempt to appeal to a familiar audience base by telling them a timeless story using a different medium. And now we know which animated classic is going to get reworked.
Bill Condon, the Oscar-winning director of Gods and Monsters, Kinsey, Dreamgirls and – yes – two Twilight movies, will take a swing at a live-action Beauty and the Beast for Disney. Variety reports that screenwriter Evan Spiliotopoulos has been tapped to write the script, after tackling scripts for such in-house animated sequels like Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure, The Jungle Book 2, Pooh’s Heffalump Movie and The Lion King 1 1/2. And HitFix added that Condon will be drawing not only from the Oscar-winning 1991 animated film, but also from the smash Broadway musical that ran for 13 years, winning a Tony Award in 1994 for Best Costume Design.
Bill Condon’s the right hire for a live-action musical adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. In addition to his own Dreamgirls, the director wrote the screenplay for Rob Marshall’s high-octane Chicago back in 2002. And though he lost his way a bit in the dreadful Wikileaks drama The Fifth Estate, Condon remains in Disney’s good graces and should have the wherewithal to bring Beauty and the Beast to life on screen.
This is all part of the studio’s growing plan to farm out live-action takes on their classic stories. Beyond this new Beauty and the Beast project, Disney already has Jon Favreau hard at work on a live-action version of The Jungle Book. And we recently saw the first tease for Kenneth Branagh’s live-action Cinderella, which will star Lily James, Helena Bonham Carter (who also starred in a live-action Alice in Wonderland) and Cate Blanchett. Here’s the tease, which basically zooms in on a beautiful slipper:
The bottom line is, live-action versions of animated classics are all the rage now, and studios will look to lock up the right talents to bring these adaptations to the screen. Bill Condon fits the bill for a big-screen Beauty and the Beast. Are you intrigued by this possibility?
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.