Disney’s Live-Action Movie Lineup

It’s now early March, and Disney fans are counting the days until the 17th and the premiere of “Beauty and the Beast.” The live-action remake of this Disney classic features a huge celebrity cast, including Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as The Beast and Luke Evans as Gaston.

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Reviews of the movie should start rolling in within the next week or so. Previous live action movies that recieved high ratings include Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” series (2010/2016), Jon Faverau’s “The Jungle Book” (2016), “Maleficent” (2014), starring Angelina Jolie, and most recently “Pete’s Dragon”  (2016) . Disney has proven to be masters of animation and live action, so I have no doubt that future works will continue to impress audiences worldwide.

Meanwhile, as we all anticipate our chance to be their guests on March 17, Disney continues to work avidly on its future live action movies.

Niki Caro and William Kong, respectively. Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney; Han Myung-Gu/WireImage. Click image to view source.

Recently, the live-action remake of “Mulan” was assigned its director, Niki Caro, and executive producer, William Kong. Caro is known for her films such as “Whale Rider” (2002), “North County” (2005) and “McFarland, U.S.A.” (2015). Kong is known for producing Eastern hits, such as “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000), “Hero” (2002) and “House of Flying Daggers” (2004).

When the news that “Mulan” would become a live action movie first broke, Disney fans were both excited and worried. The worry turned into online riots when the original script, obtained sometime in 2015, was leaked, and revealed that the remake would not parallel the original animated film from 1998. Changes shown in the leaked script included a white male lead, who would play as the love interest for Mulan instead of General Shang. Thankfully, Disney quickly released a statement that revealed that the leaked script was not actually the script for the live-action movie, and promised fans that the film would contain an all Asian cast. This was also when controversy and outrage were spreading like wildfire over the cast changes in Marvel’s “Doctor Strange.”

Although there has been no official cast list released for “Mulan,” the movie is set to premiere on Nov. 2, 2018.

Until then, here is a list of upcoming live action Disney films, and the featured actors/actresses who have been confirmed or rumored to be a part of said remakes.

 

1.”The Lion King”

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Disney was avid about bringing back Jon Favreau to direct “The Lion King” after his success with “The Jungle Book”. Since then, Favreau has cast Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, as Simba and James Earl Jones as Mufasa. This is the fourth time Glover has been cast by Disney – he portrayed Miles Morales in Disney XD’s “Ultimate Spiderman” and is a part of Marvel’s “Spiderman: Homecoming,” set to premiere on July 7 of this year. Glover is also playing Lando Calrissian in the Han Solo “Solo” movie, which is currently in production and will be released sometime in 2018.

James Earl Jones is also no stranger to the Disney franchise, as he voiced Darth Vader in the “Star Wars” series and Mufasa in the original animated “The Lion King.”

 

2.”Mary Poppins”

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Lin-Manuel Miranda, known for his Broadway successes “In the Heights” and “Hamilton,” and his writing and producing (of music) for Disney’s “Moana,” will be joining actress Emily Blunt and director Rob Marshall to bring “Mary Poppins” to the silver screen once more. Miranda has been cast as Jack, who was originally portrayed by Dick Van Dyke (who is also rumored to be making a cameo in the film), while Blunt will star as Mary Poppins. There has been no confirmation that the great Julie Andrews will be making a cameo in the film with her old co-star (Van Dyke), but I’m keeping my hopes up. The film is currently in production and is set to premiere on Dec. 25, 2018.

 

Other films, such as “Aladdin,” “Dumbo” and “The Sword in the Stone,” all have yet to be cast, but do have directors and writers assigned to them.

Guy Ritchie, known for “Snatch” (2000) and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” (2015), will be directing “Aladdin.” However, he has not been confirmed to direct the supposed spin-off movie about The Genie (Robin Williams will be and is missed). For “Dumbo,” the famous Tim Burton is responsible for bringing the adorable circus star to life. Bryan Cogman will be in charge of writing for “The Sword in the Stone” (Cogman has written for the infamous HBO series, “Game of Thrones”, so take that as you will).

Besides these movies, rumors about other live-action remakes are circulating. Emma Stone is rumored to be playing Cruella de Vil in a spin-off staring the villain and her rise to infamy, much like “Maleficent” (which is also rumored to make a second appearance in the live action arena). Other supposed remakes, such as “The Little Mermaid,” “Winnie the Pooh,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Pinnochio” have yet to see actors or directors attached to them. This, however, hasn’t stopped Disney fans, as many have predicted and fan-cast the remakes of these classic films.

Are you anticipating the release of these live-action films? Do you prefer the original animated movies? Are there other Disney films you’re dying to have remade? Let us know via KCR’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

National Tell a Fairytale Day

Although many of you may not know, the 26th of Feb. is indeed National Tell a Fairytale Day. So, in honor of the 26th, I decided to list four of today’s most popular fairytales and explain where, when and how they were created, or first told.

1. Cinderella

Photo by Sofi on Flickr.

“The Tale of Cinderella” actually has many different versions, most originating in ancient Egyptian. However, the following three stories are the versions most related to the (Disney) “Cinderella” we know today.

Yeh-Shen

This story was written in China during the T’ang Dynasty (618-907 AD). Just like the Disney version, Yeh-Shen was under the care of her stepmother, but she had one stepsister as opposed to two. A fish played the role of her only friend and the role of her fairy godmother.

The Little Glass Slipper

This version is French, and was written by Charles Perrault in 1667. It contains all of the major elements that the modern Cinderella has: the pumpkin carriage, fairy godmother and glass slippers.

Kinderund Hausmarchen

This German tale was written by the Grimm brothers, in 1812. In this more violent version, the stepsisters cut off parts of their feet in order to fit into the slipper and fool the prince. Also, the brothers’ Cinderella cries so much after her mother’s death that a tree grows. This tree helps Cinderella get ready for the ball and meet the prince.

2. Mulan

Photo by Adele Blancsec on Flickr.

The story of Mulan was sung as a Chinese folk song in the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-557 AD). The plot of the song is essentially the same as the Disney movie we know today. However, in some versions of the song, after Mulan returns from war, she learns that her father is dead and no longer feels like a hero. In other versions, she becomes traumatized after the war and commits suicide. The Disney version provides a happier ending.

3. The Frog Prince

Photo by Sofi on Flickr.

The first (verbal) version of this fairytale appeared in 16th century Scotland and was known as “The Well at the World’s End.” However, the first written adaptation of this story is the Grimm brothers’ 1812 tale, “The Frog Prince.”

Another notable version of this fairytale was written by William Elliot Griffis in 1911, and hails from Korea. Entitled, “A Frog for a Husband, ” this tale gives more insight into what the Frog Prince was like as a human.

4. The Snow Queen

Photo by Adele Blancsec on Flickr.

This fairytale was written by Hans Christian Andersen in Denmark in 1844. However, the Snow Queen is nothing like Disney’s Elsa, and in fact is not the story’s main character.

I encourage all of you to click on the links above and read the variations of the fairytales we know today!

Welcome to Riverdale

If you were a fan of the “Archie” comics growing up, you may be aware of the newest addition to the franchise, “Riverdale,” a television show produced by The CW Network. What you may not know, however, is that this show will not be following the same type of wholesome storyline that our beloved rag tag group of teenagers have starred in for nearly 78 years.

Photo by Archie Comics.

“Archie” was originally created in 1941 through the publisher MLJ Comics. Although the publication has been known for other successful series, such as “Sabrina The Teenage Witch” and “Josie and the Pussycats,” “Archie” proved to be the crowd-favorite, so much so that the publication was eventually renamed as Archie Comics Publication Inc.

Archie and his crew were famously involved in everyday teenage drama, going through the love triangles and other high school tropes we often see in entertainment. However, as The CW tries to add this long standing comic franchise to their arsenal of successful television shows, viewers will be seeing more than just high school romance. The official synopsis of “Riverdale” via IMDB describes the show as “A subversive take on Archie and his friends, exploring small town life, the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome facade.”

That’s right: The CW’s “Archie” is no longer the fairly wholesome “Archie” we know and love (although, technically speaking, the characters still are).

The CW gives “Archie” the good old “CW twist”, as viewers can expect steamy love scenes, twists and turns around every corner, and maybe even a dead body or two as the series progresses.

“Riverdale” will be all that and then some, with an extremely talented (and attractive) group of actors joining The CW team. Here’s a quick run down of the cast bringing these classic characters to life.

We have our beloved red head, Archie Andrews, portrayed by New Zealand native, K.J. Apa.

Photo by Frank Ockenfels 3/The CW, 2017.

The iconic best friend, Jughead Jones, is played by a prevalent childhood actor (and one of my early 2000s celebrity crushes), Cole Sprouse.

Photo by Frank Ockenfels 3/The CW, 2017

Then of course, we have the contenders for Archie’s heart.

Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/The CW, 2017.

The beautiful Camila Mendes is portraying Veronica Lodge, and is joined by Lili Reinhart as Betty Hooper.

The list spirals on with plenty of attractive and talented actors. However, there’s one question that all Archie fans are asking each other as the show progresses: are you Team Betty or Team Veronica? Or is there someone else pining for the classic redhead heartthrob that we have yet to be introduced to?

If you’re even the slightest bit curious, I invite you to watch “Riverdale,” airing on Thursday nights via The CW at 9 p.m. The show can also be found online through The CW’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Featured Image by The CW, 2017. 

Ghost Stories in San Diego

On the fateful evening of Monday, Feb. 17th I ventured out into the wide expanse of San Diego and traveled far to The Observatory, a venue as tasteful as it is secure (which is to say very). The massive wooden doors to the establishment opened promptly an hour before the show began, but you, dear reader, are likely wondering what show I am referring to and with good reason, as I have not yet revealed that to you.

The live show I had waited weeks to attend was titled “Ghost Stories” and put on by “Welcome to Nightvale”, a podcast, community and home to everything weird and wonderful. The show itself was nearly identical to one of numerous podcast episodes which can be found here. The show began with an introduction by Meg Bashwiner, who told us the rules for the evening and pointed to the exits, all in a humorous and engaging manner. Throughout the performance, there was an intimate sense of unadulterated joy and serendipity. The actors and musicians kept the audience focused on everything they did and said as we hung on every note, every word, every humorous smirk in between lines of dialogue.

Special Musical Guest Erin McKeown’s performance before and during “Ghost Stories” was incredible. The song she played for the weather segment, “Queer Gospel,” brought back fond memories of late nights listening to “Welcome to Nightvale” and of good times with my other LGBT friends.

I do not wish to spoil anything, but from what I experienced on that fateful evening, I can say with the utmost certainty that for those hours I was transported to a place where the worries of everyday life seemed but a distant memory, fading away as I was embraced in a warm calm. Overall, “Ghost Stories” was an incredibly moving experience, and though “Welcome to Nightvale” is certainly not for everyone, it is definitely something to many.

Featured Image by Violet Friudenberg.