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It's been nearly 200 years since his heyday, but Charles Dickens remains one of the most admired authors of all time, especially when it comes to remaking his bodies of work on the big screen. While A Christmas Carol is arguably his most popular book to adapt as a movie, Oliver Twist comes in a close second. Now Disney is gearing up to release a new version of the eponymous orphan's tale, this time with Ice Cube as one of the leads.
It was announced earlier today that Ice Cube has been cast as Fagin in a new Oliver Twist movie. This reimagining is described by THR as a "modern musical" that will cross many genres, including hip-hop. However, Cube's involvement doesn't stop at acting. He is also co-writing the script with Jeff Kwatinetz, and both men, along with Wicked's Marc Platt, are attached as producers. As for directing, Hamilton's Tony Kail has been tapped to oversee this musical.
Obviously different Oliver Twist adaptations take their own creative liberties with the source material, but the basic tale revolves around an orphan named Oliver who ends up on the streets and is soon brought into a gang of juvenile criminals led by Fagin. The most recent Oliver Twist movie released was the 2005 Roman Polanski-directed adaptation starring Ben Kingsley, but as the THR report implied, it sounds like the movie from Disney will be a contemporary re-telling, akin to the recent Annie remake. As far as Ice Cube playing Fagin, the actor has previous experience playing tough characters, so we can definitely picture him as a sinister figure manipulating a band of kids to steal on his behalf. It's also worth noting that given Hamilton's astounding success over the last year (which includes earning 11 Tony Awards), Tony Kail's involvement definitely bodes well for this being a compelling musical.
Longtime Disney fans will remember that this isn't the first time the studio has put their own spin on Oliver Twist. Back in 1988, they released Oliver & Company, which saw a homeless kitten being taken in by a gang of dogs in 1980s New York. This new movie, though, will be the House of Mouse's first go at telling the tale in live action. Like most of Disney's musicals, presumably Oliver Twist will be rated PG so the whole family can enjoy it, though don't think that Ice Cube, Tony Kail and the rest of the creative team won't shy away from some of the darker elements.
We'll keep you apprised on how Disney's Oliver Twist movie is progressing as more information comes in, but in the meantime, let us know what you think about this take in the comments below. Ice Cube can next be seen in Fist Fight, which hits theaters on Feb. 17, 2017.