Disney's new film version of The Nutcracker appears to be on the fast track. Casting new from it has been coming very quickly, and while the names aren't slowing down, they are getting bigger. Following the news that the film had cast its lead, as well as Hollywood mainstay Morgan Freeman, it now appears they're adding yet another Academy Award winner. Helen Mirren is reportedly in talks to join the film as well.
The movie, which will be titled The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, will star Mackenzie Foy in the lead role as Clara, the little girl who is gifted a Nutcracker by her godfather before it comes to life and whisks her off to another world of music, ballet, and mice with swords. Morgan Freeman has signed on to play Drosselmeyer, Clara's godfather and the creator of the Nutcracker. Now The Hollywood Reporter says that Helen Mirren is in talks to take the role of Mother Ginger.
In the original ballet, the entire second act isn't so much a story as it a performance within a performance. Clara and her prince, the living Nutcracker, travel to the Land of Sweets and various characters dance for the pair in honor of Clara's arrival. Mother Ginger is one of these characters. She's a large woman with an enormous dress. From underneath the dress come all of Mother Ginger's children, who dance for Clara and the Prince.
While the title of the film, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, implies that the movie is planning to do more than simply retell the classic tale, all signs point to this being a very classic version, at least so far. All of the casting announcements that we have heard, including Keira Knightly as the Sugar Plum Fairy, are for the characters that fans of the classic ballet will know. In addition, the casting of Misty Copeland, a professional ballet dancer, seems to give the impression that we're in for a big screen version of the same story that millions go to see on stage every Christmas. There are still at least two major roles that have yet to be cast. We still don't have a Nutcracker or a Mouse King for the Nutcracker to battle.
It remains to be seen if Helen Mirren will simply be making a cameo appearance as Mother Ginger, or if the role will somehow turn out to be larger in this version of the story. Either way, we wouldn't be surprised to see even more big names become part of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. It's likely Disney plans to make this as star-studded an affair as possible.