Though reaction to the announcement of a live-action remake of Disney’s The Lion King has been somewhat mixed, the studio is forging ahead with the project. Having set Jon Favreau to direct the film, screenwriter Jeff Nathanson (Tower Heist, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) has now been hired to tackle the adaptation.
Disney are clearly seeking to capitalize on the rapturous reception The Jungle Book received earlier this year. Filmmaker Jon Favreau took the classic Disney film and re-invigorated it by returning to certain elements of the source material – being Rudyard Kipling’s book. He then delivered a CGI-live action hybrid movie that succeeded on every level. With The Lion King, however, there is no specific source material to incorporate, beyond the original film, unless writer Jeff Nathanson brings additional elements of Shakespeare’s Hamlet into the story – of which the 1994 film featured narrative aspects.
The plot of The Lion King saw lion cub Simba set to succeed his father, Mufasa, as King Of The Pride Lands. His Uncle, Scar, murders Mufasa and tricks Simba into believing he himself is responsible. Simba is exiled, and Scar takes the throne – but on his journey away from his home, Simba comes to realize the truth and returns to seek justice.
As with The Jungle Book, one of the most memorable aspects of the original version of The Lion King was its music – with a score by Hans Zimmer, and songs by Tim Rice and Elton John. Director Jon Favreau successfully incorporated new interpretations of the iconic tunes from The Jungle Book into his new version, so it will be interesting to see if the same happens here – though we have yet to see confirmation of the involvement of The Jungle Book composer, John Debney.