Disney’s ‘Lion King’ Remake Taps Veteran Screenwriter Jeff Nathanson
With the news that Jon Favreau was directing a live-action remake of arguably THE most popular Disney movie of all time, The Lion King, people were undoubtedly excited. Favreau successfully launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2008’s Iron Man, believed by many to still be the best Avengers movie, and has had a few notable successes since, including Chef in 2014 and this summer’s almost-entirely-CGI remake of The Jungle Book. The latter did so well that Disney hired Favreau again to direct The Lion King, and today it was announced that the film has found a screenwriter.
Deadline has learned that Jeff Nathanson has joined the project, who had a great run in the early 2000s with Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal, and the Rush Hour movies. He’s been brought on to help update the “reimagining” for a modern audience. The film is still in pretty early development, so we have yet to see how close it’ll stick to the movie, but if you look at Disney’s past live-action updates like The Jungle Book, Maleficent, and Cinderella, they seem to be holding a pattern of lifting as much as they can from their cartoon source material, much to fans’ relief. The Jungle Book even kept some of the original songs in! Even the upcoming Beauty and the Beast looks like it’s pulled straight from the 1991 movie, keeping the baroque feel of the costumes and scenery.
Disney seems to know their audience, and also to know that fans are more likely to enjoy material they’re familiar with, even if it’s a little bit updated. We don’t know yet whether they’ll keep the songs in the new live-action Lion King, but would it really be The Lion King without “Hakuna Matata” or “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?”