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When you're Disney, you've pretty much already got a monopoly on childhood imagination, creating iconic versions of enough fairy tales and inventing enough characters of your own to fill millions of daycare toy chests. But the movie industry pauses for no man, not even Walt Disney's cryogenically frozen head, and at some point you've got to keep making new movies to entertain new generations… even though they're not always going to live up to the old ones. Once in a while you get a Toy Story or a Wreck-It Ralph, but other times you gamble and lose on Meet the Robinsons. So how do you keep the gravy train rolling?
You remake your own classics, obviously. You don't even have to pay for the rights! And in proof that the cycle of reinvention and adaptation really does never end, Disney is planning to take The Jungle Book-- adapted as an animated film in 1967 from Rudyard Kipling's short stories-- and redo it as a live-action film. In 1967 you couldn't have dreamed of a live-action Jungle Book, what with the talking animals, but we live in an era in which a CGI deer can pee in Adam Sandler's face; anything is possible! According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney has hired Justin Marks to write a script for a new Jungle Book movie, which is so new that there aren't even producers attached, much less a director.
Marks is one of those writers who is everywhere, even though the only actual feature-length film to his name is the regrettable Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. Marks was assigned at one point to the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea movie that McG was directing at the time, only to pass it on to David Fincher, who watched the whole thing grind to a halt in May. Marks is also penning The Raven, the action film based on a short that went quickly viral.
If "Disney making live-action version of one of their animated classics" sounds like a familiar concept, you might be thinking of the massively successful/ Alice in Wonderland, or of the upcoming Maleficent (a twist on Sleeping Beauty) or Cinderella. Everything old is new again... especially if it's an old hit that Disney can repackage for kids not old enough to know the difference. It's a bear necessity of doing business these days.