Anyone still traumatized after witnessing Cats in 2019 may want to leave the room for the following news: Iconic musician and composer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is reportedly helming a remake of Disney’s 1970 animated classic The Aristocats. Described as a live-action and animation hybrid–hence the palpitations of those of us still in shock from Cats–the film would be Thompson’s narrative feature debut after he directed the Oscar-winning documentary Summer of Soul in 2021. Questlove is also exec producing and overseeing music on The Aristocats, which a script from Will Gluck and Keith Bunin.
The original 1970 film is perhaps not terribly well known to modern audiences at this point, like many of the classic Disney animated features of the era. It obviously shouldn’t be confused with the 2005 comedy The Aristocrats, about a legendarily dirty joke. Rather, The Aristocats is about an upper class family of cats in France, who are about to inherit a fortune from their former owner. However, their lives are upended when the former owner’s greedy butler swoops in to steal the inheritance for himself, stranding the family of cats in the country. There, they must team up with a street smart stray cat to survive in the big world and win back what is theirs.
Questlove is a six-time Grammy Winner as a founding member of Philadelphia hop hop band The Roots, which has also served for years as the house band for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Thompson was acclaimed in his musical directorial debut via Summer of Soul, about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, which went on to win the Grand Jury Prize of Sundance before also winning Best Documentary Feature at the 94th Academy Awards. Still, to make the jump to feature film animation is certainly an interesting an unexpected diversion for an artist like Questlove, so it will be fascinating to see how he attempts to put his stamp on the project.