Jon Favreau has become quite the hot commodity in Hollywood these days, after solidifying his place as a genre filmmaker with his two Iron Man movies, which collectively grossed $1.2 billion at the box office. He followed those up with Cowboys & Aliens, which wasn’t as successful, then did the unthinkable and stepped away from the limelight to work on a smaller, more personal passion project: Chef, which just debuted at SXSW (read our review). Now that that’s out of his system, it seems that he’s going back to big budget fare as he will be at the helm of the live action Jungle Book adaptation for Disney.
Before he landed the Jungle Book gig though, Favreau was actually attached to another Disney property: Magic Kingdom. The film has been described as “Night at the Museum meets Disneyland,” telling the story of how all the characters within the theme park come to life at night.
Unfortunately, we haven’t heard much from the project since 2012, when Favreau said he was seeking a bit of writing help from Pixar. In a recent interview with Collider at SXSW, however, he was asked for an update about the long gestating film:
I really want to do Magic Kingdom. Part of what’s complicated about it is you’re mixing all of the different lands and characters together but between The Avengers and The Lego Movie, there seems to be a way to do it that doesn’t confuse the audience. Hopefully I’ll get to make that movie with Disney soon. Right now Jungle Book is the thing and hopefully through that partnership it’ll lead to getting the other film done because I think Magic Kingdom is a great idea for a film.
Favreau makes a good point about how The Avengers and The LEGO Movie introduced audiences to pre-established characters, dropping them into stories of their own without disrupting any previous franchises. The Avengers has only strengthened the Marvel cinematic universe, and though The LEGO Movie contained characters like Batman and Superman, it didn’t screw up any of Warner Bros.’ plans for Batman vs. Superman. As long as a Magic Kingdom movie respects and pays homage to the stories that have already established these iconic characters, there shouldn’t be a problem.
Favreau is confident that he’s got a story that will do just that, too, and hopes to start working on the film once he’s done with The Jungle Book:
The issue is how do you treat characters in one film that are differentiated [in other films]. So if you’re doing a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, how do you differentiate from the pirates in your movie, is that confusing to an audience and does that ruin other franchises that are existing? So I think when the time is right I think I have a strong take that would make that very clear. But again Jungle Book is a priority for them and something they’re very excited about and something I really connected with. Hopefully, through that relationship, Magic Kingdom will become the next thing down the line.
All in all, this sounds like a great project for Favreau to take on, and though many will criticize its inevitable similarities to the Night At The Museum franchise, Magic Kingdom should be able to succeed as long as it’s executed well. Plus, who knows, maybe it’ll give Disney execs a reason to look into a Kingdom Hearts film!
What, a guy can dream, can’t he?