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Questlove to direct disney’s live-action adaptation of ‘the aristocats’

The news comes off the heels of the musician's Oscar win for Best Documentary for his work on 'Summer of Soul.'

Photo via Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Reading Partners

Walt Disney Studios has just announced that a live-action-hybrid adaptation of the ’70s classic movie The Aristocats is in the works and has tapped Academy Award-winning producer Questlove as its director in what will serve as the Grammy Award-winning musician’s feature directorial debut.  

The Philadelphia-born drummer, formally known as Ahmir Khalib Thompson, made headlines last year after accepting the award for Best Documentary for his work on Summer of Soul (… Or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised) immediately after fellow Oscar winner Will Smith walked onstage and struck comedian Chris Rock who was presenting the category during the ceremony. The project also earned the 52-year-old the 2022 Grammy award for Best Music Film.

According to Deadline, who broke the news, Quest will also serve as the movie’s executive producer and oversee music for the project. Will Gluck and Keith Bunin penned the script. Tarik Trotter, Shawn Gee, and Zarah Zohlman of Two One Five Entertainment are also set to executive produce. 

In a statement to Pitchfork, the legendary hip-hop figure opened up about allowing his “inner 9-year-old to have a voice he wouldn’t had back in 1980” during the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Roots co-founder said, “I made space for myself every day to enjoy an hour or two of fun,” but noted that eventually, “it turned into more work”; however, “it started as fun.” 

He continued, “What grew out of that, in part, was nightly viewings of old Disney classics from my childhood. The Aristocats as one of them. Having been involved in Soul that year, I was able to see so-called kids’ art with new eyes, was able to connect with a certain feeling.”

The lovable animation follows a family of Parisian felines who discover they are set to inherit a significant fortune from their owner. However, when the owner’s jealous butler kidnaps them and abandons them in the country, they must team up with a sly tomcat in order to return home before time runs out. 

The artist also revealed that growing up, his mother, Jacquelin Thompson, who, alongside Quest’s father, Arthur Lee Andrews Thompson, was a member of the soul-based group Congress Alley, used the film to get a young Quest interested in jazz. 

The industry veteran told the outlet, “There’s nothing more rewarding than continuing down that same creative path, taking a part of my past and making it part of my future.”

Information regarding the cast or release date is not yet known. Meanwhile, Disney’s latest live-action film, The Little Mermaid, starring actress, singer, and songwriter Halle Bailey and comedian Melissa McCarthy, is set to make its theatrical debut on May 26, 2023.

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Tabie Germain