After The Jungle Book proved that audiences will flock to modernized adaptations of its classic animated films, Disney decided it could use a little bit more money, so now it’s getting its ducks in order.
A couple of weeks ago we learned Jon Favreau would helm the The Lion King movie, and now THR is reporting that Guy Ritchie, director of Snatch and the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies, is in negotiations to direct the forthcoming live-action Aladdin movie.
Best known for his kinetic visual style, Ritchie might not exactly be the first name to come to mind when you think Disney, but his last few movies have shown Ritchie working his unique style into period films where it might not be expected. The two Sherlock Holmes movies, the 1960s spy movie The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and the forthcoming King Arthur: Legend of the Sword all show Ritchie bringing modern stylized filmmaking to time periods that rarely get that treatment.
And it seems that’s what Disney wants for Aladdin. As THR reports, Aladdin will be a non-traditional adaptation, putting a big emphasis on the fact that it won’t be told in chronological order. So if Disney is looking to do something different with it, Ritchie isn’t the worst director you could pick.
But if you’re a Disney purist, don’t get too nervous. Apparently the movie will still maintain the musical elements of the original. How much isn’t clear yet, but if it’s anything like The Jungle Book, most of the songs will be backgrounded, with only a few getting actual musical numbers.
No matter your opinion on Ritchie’s work, it’s clear Disney isn’t interested in just hiring staid journeyman directors that it can fit into a formula; they’re picking directors with unique styles and letting them do their thing, which is at least admirable.
Aladdin doesn’t have a release date yet, but both Ritchie’s King Arthur movie and Disney’s next live-action remake Beauty and the Beast hit theaters in March next year.