Questlove to Direct Live-Action Remake of Disney Classic “The Aristocats”

KEY TAKEAWAYS
Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson will direct a live-action hybrid reimagining of Disney's classic "The Aristocats," executive producing and overseeing the music for the film.
Will Gluck and Keith Bunin are collaborating on the script for the remake, as part of Disney's strategy to give live-action treatment to its entire animated catalog.
The original "Aristocats" film, released in 1970, was a box office success and featured a memorable jazz sequence set to the song "Ev'rybody Wants to Be a Cat."
Questlove made his directorial debut in 2021 with the documentary "Summer of Soul," which won Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards.
Several other live-action or CGI remakes of classic Disney animated films are currently in development, including "Peter Pan and Wendy," a "Snow White" film, and a prequel to the 2019 "Lion King" remake.

 

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, fresh off an Oscar win for his documentary “Summer of Soul,” has lined up his next directing project: a live-action hybrid reimagining of Disney’s classic “The Aristocats.”

In addition to directing, Questlove will executive produce and oversee the music for the new film, following in the footsteps of other Disney remakes like “The Lady and the Tramp,” which mixed CGI animals with live human actors.

Talented Duo Writing the Script

Will Gluck, the director of 2014’s “Annie” and “Peter Rabbit,” and Keith Bunin, writer of Pixar’s 2020 film “Onward,” are collaborating on the script for the remake.

The project is part of Disney’s strategy to give live-action treatment to its entire animated catalog, with recent releases including “Beauty and the Beast,” “Cinderella,” “The Lion King,” “Aladdin,” “Mulan,” and “Dumbo.”

Upcoming projects include a new version of “The Little Mermaid” starring Halle Bailey, set to hit theaters on May 26.

Original Film’s Classic Storyline

Released in 1970, the original “Aristocats” tells the story of mother cat Duchess and her three kittens, Berlioz, Marie, and Toulouse, as they team up with alley cat Thomas O’Malley to find their way home.

The film, directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, features a memorable jazz sequence set to the song “Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat.

The movie garnered positive reviews and was a box office success, grossing $191 million on a budget of just $4 million.

Questlove’s Impressive Resume

Questlove is best known as the drummer and co-frontman of the Roots, the in-house band for “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

In 2021, he made his directorial debut with the documentary “Summer of Soul” about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival.

The film received critical acclaim, winning the Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards.

Questlove is no stranger to Disney animated projects, having voiced a character and served as a musical consultant on Pixar’s “Soul.” “The Aristocats” will be his narrative directorial debut.

More Disney Remakes in Development

In addition to “The Aristocats,” several other live-action or CGI remakes of classic Disney animated films are currently in development.

April will see the premiere of “Peter Pan and Wendy” from Peter Lowrey on Disney+, while a “Snow White” film with Rachel Zegler is expected for 2024.

April will see the premiere of “Peter Pan and Wendy” from Peter Lowrey on Disney+, while a “Snow White” film with Rachel Zegler is expected for 2024.

A prequel to the 2019 “Lion King” remake from Barry Jenkins is also in the works.

Questlove will executive produce “The Aristocats” via his production banner Two One Five Entertainment, alongside Tarik Trotter, Shawn Gee, and Zarah Zohlman.

Will Gluck will produce the film through his company Olive Bridge. Questlove is managed by Shawn Gee and represented by WME.

The Aristocats: A Cherished Disney Classic

“The Aristocats,” released in 1970, is a beloved Disney classic that has enchanted audiences for over five decades.

Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, the film came during what is now referred to as Disney’s “Golden Age” of animation, which began in the late 1930s with the release of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and continued through the 1960s with hits like “The Jungle Book” and “One Hundred and One Dalmatians.”

Memorable Characters and Music

The animated film follows the adventures of Duchess, a sophisticated mother cat, and her three kittens, Berlioz, Marie, and Toulouse, as they are joined by a charismatic alley cat named Thomas O’Malley in their quest to find their way back home after being kidnapped.

The movie features a cast of unforgettable characters, such as the comical Roquefort the mouse and the boisterous Scat Cat and his band of musical alley cats.

A standout aspect of “The Aristocats” is its memorable music, with songs composed by the Sherman Brothers, who also penned the tunes for other Disney classics like “Mary Poppins” and “The Jungle Book.”

The film’s jazzy soundtrack includes the catchy “Thomas O’Malley Cat” and the iconic “Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat,” which has become an enduring anthem of the Disney songbook.

Box Office Success and Lasting Legacy

Upon its release, “The Aristocats” received positive reviews from critics and audiences alike, praising its charming story, delightful characters, and catchy music.

The film was a box office success, grossing $191 million worldwide on a modest budget of $4 million.

Over the years, the movie has maintained its popularity, with its characters and music continuing to resonate with new generations of Disney fans.

The upcoming live-action hybrid reimagining of “The Aristocats,” directed by Questlove, will build on the film’s rich legacy and introduce a modern take on the heartwarming story to a whole new audience.

With its enchanting tale of adventure, friendship, and the power of music, “The Aristocats” remains a cherished Disney classic that continues to capture the hearts of viewers young and old.

Craig Miller

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