It seems that Disney can do no wrong these days. Love or hate the House of Mouse, they’ve been nailing it on all fronts: Marvel, Pixar, Disney Animation, and everything in between. One of the most prominent aspects they’ve been hitting it out of the park on are their live-action adaptations of previous animated films (excluding the recent Alice Through The Looking Glass). The biggest surprise on that end came in the form of Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book.
While many Favreau fans expected to be a solid flick based on Favreau’s cache of films we’ve already seen, not everyone was expecting it to be the big hit it was. The visual effects for the film were groundbreaking and out of this world, the story was predictable yet solid, and the cast was pitch perfect. As such, the news of Jon Favreau directing a fully CG-animted Lion King film received nothing but praise. If he built on the technology used for The Jungle Book, he could certainly make something very special.
While Favreau is known occasionally to write the films he directs, when working with Disney, he generally just takes on the role of director. With that in mind, we had no idea who would be writing the script for this bad boy. Now, Deadline is reporting that Jeff Nathanson, the man behind such Stephen Spielberg classics as Catch Me If You Can and The Terminal (a film I will defend with my dying breath), not to mention the Rush Hour movies (yes, all three of them, for better or worse), and of course, the classic film Speed 2: Cruise Control.
All joking aside, despite the hit-and-miss record of the writer, I’d say this is fairly good news. We know he’s a writer who knows how to get good stuff done, and the duds he’s written are all, largely associated with shoddy direction. Jon Favreau is a man with amazing story sensibilities, and if he thinks a script is not up to snuff, he’ll be the first one to say something, without having big Iron Man 2-like pressures of having to set up a whole shared universe.
It’s not the most inspired of choices, but clearly the writer must’ve done something right with his most recent script, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, because they’ve carried Nathanson over to another high profile project. Whenever a studio immediately hires a writer from one job to the next, it’s a good sign.
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