Lights, Camera, Live Action: The New Trend at Disney

by The Cowl Editor on October 25, 2018

Arts & Entertainment

by: Brigid Walshe ’19 A&E Staff

Most kids grew up watching “classic” animated Disney movies, and many of us can consider these films a huge part of our childhood. Well, Disney is now taking these classics and bringing them to life, literally (with the help of some CGI).

Starting with their remake of the 1951 classic Alice in Wonderland in 2010, Disney has created seven live-action remakes, and there are still, many more that will be released within the next five years. This past week, the first trailer for the live-action adaptation of the 1992 film Aladdin dropped, and people are already getting excited. 

stills from the Disney movies The Stone and the Sword, Mulan, and Beauty and the Beast

The studio originally had a lot of problems casting Aladdin and Jasmine, as they wanted to find actors who fit the roles. Disney reportedly held over 2,000 auditions for the roles until they decided on newcomer Mena Massoud as Aladdin and Naomi Scott as Jasmine. Will Smith was cast as the Genie, a character first made famous by the late Robin Williams, and he promises to add his own flair to the character.  Aladdin will also feature two new characters, with Billy Magnussen playing Prince Anders, another potential suitor for Jasmine, and Nasim Pedrad playing Dalia, Jasmine’s handmaiden. The live-action Aladdin also provides a great opportunity for Disney to promote diversity in their productions. While they have been criticized in the past for cultural appropriation, the studio promises to honor and realistically portray the culture in the film, which starts with the cast.

Many of the new live-action films have differed themselves from the originals in little ways. While films like Cinderella and The Jungle Book have stayed pretty true to their original storyline, other films, such as Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, have introduced new elements to the plot, such as new characters or new music. The 2017 Beauty and the Beast featured new songs, such as “Evermore” and “Days in the Sun.” Aladdin will feature two new songs as well. 

Following Aladdin’s release in May 2019, Disney has plans to release more life action remakes. The live-action remake of The Lion King, starring Donald Glover and Beyoncé, will premiere in July 2019, the live-action rendition of The Lady and the Tramp will premiere in the Fall of 2019, and the highly-anticipated Mulan will premiere in May 2020. 

However, Disney is not stopping after Mulan; they have many future projects that are still in the development phase, including Prince Charming, Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, The Sword and the Stone, Pinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and The Little Mermaid. Disney is even planning a live-action remake of the iconic final scene from Fantasia, called Night on Bald Mountain, featuring the giant black demonic feature, Chernobog.

Disney has really hit the jackpot with their live-action films, which many fans are pleased with, and they have no plans of slowing down. While we grew up with the animated original films, the next generation will see our favorite heroes, princesses, and characters brought to life in a new way that we did not know growing up.