It’s the Circle of Life and it really does rule us all, especially big budget Hollywood studios like Disney. In the wake of a string of successful live-action adaptations like Cinderella (2015) and The Jungle Book (2016), the studio has set their sights on one of the biggest properties of the bunch. That’s right, brace yourselves nineties babies, because the beloved animation The Lion King (1994) is officially headed for a remake. Releasing a statement on the matter today, the House of Mouse said they will be turning, once again, to acclaimed director Jon Favreau to spearhead the project, labelling it a ‘re-imaging’ that will retain its musical elements and be fast tracked into production over the next few years.
Favreau also confirmed the news in a mysterious Twitter message shortly before the statement dropped, declaring he was ‘very excited for his next project’ alongside some rather appropriate Lion King emoji’s. The choice of Favreau is arguably a no-brainer for the studio, with his previous work netting them close to a billion dollars at the box office and a critically acclaimed general consensus from critics. The director managed to create incredibly photo-realistic animals as part of his last project too, which definitely would have added to the appeal.
However it is important to remember that this time round he won’t have a human character to lean on, so it could prove dangerous territory to try and adapt. Outside of the directing news very little has been revealed yet, with production in its early stages, so there’s no point jumping to conclusions just yet. Stay tuned for more details as they come to light.
With the Academy Awards set to be handed out this weekend, the plague of diversity in Hollywood films is once again being called into question - this time in a recently released study. And it seems that having no actors or actresses of colour nominated in the Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actor or Best Actress categories is just the tip of the iceberg. The report, released Monday, entitled 'The Comprehensive Annenberg Report On Diversion', comes from the Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative at the University Of Southern California’s Annenberg School For Communication & Journalism.
It finds that the epitome of the Hollywood A-Class are white males, and that women, ethnic minorities, and LGBT people often fall within the realm of 'invisibility'. In the most honest and brutal terms Hollywood "still functions as a straight, white, boys club." Utilising data from 109 films released in 2014, as well as 305 scripted TV shows, the study focused on 11,000 speaking roles and 11,500 directors, writers, show-runners and executives. And it provided a stark look at the major studios of Disney, Sony, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros.
Here's hoping Hollywood can do better next year, when The Academy's new steps will be put in place to secure greater diversity in their voting population, and hopefully on their winners podium too.
We can't believe it, but today officially marks the one year anniversary of Marvel's surprise hit Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). Boy how time flies. Whilst the studio expected good things out of the film, they couldn't possibly foresee the massive critical acclaim, box-office domination, and international popularity that ensued. And at this one year mark, it seems no-one could be prouder of the films success than James Gunn, the director of the misfit space mob. And to show his gratitude Gunn has pennede a letter to the fans, posting it to his Facebook page earlier today.
What's so beautiful about the effort, and by Gunn in particular, is that he truly, honestly, and unequivocally cares about the fans and understands that there would be no point to movies without them. All the storytelling and special effects in the world mean nothing if you can't connect to the audience. And that is exactly what Gunn did with Guardians of the Galaxy, never making us just spectators, but rather implicit participators in everything that went down. So as we reminisce this year, and keep our fingers crossed for the same level of wonder from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), which will hit theatres May 5th, 2017, let us all remember that we are all, really, truly, and honestly, Groot. You can check out the letter below.
"One year ago today, Guardians of the Galaxy opened up in the U.S. and many places around the world. The movie massively over-performed that weekend, even by our own expectations, but what meant more to me is how much so many of you, no matter where you were from, took the story and the characters into your hearts. What meant more to me is that "We are Groot" became a rallying cry for unity among friends and families. What meant more to me is that you laughed at the dumb stuff I thought you'd miss, like "Cap'n's gotta teach stuff" and "I was thinking of something else." What meant more to me is that in our tenth week we were out-performing any comic book film in recent history - not because of the money, but because people were going back to see the film a second, third, fourth, fifth time, or more, because they loved it. What mattered to me is that after a lifetime of telling stories and half a lifetime making movies, I felt like you and I, filmmaker and audience, were at the same place at the same time.
It mattered to me mostly because I told a story fully with my heart, and you took it into yours. I don't think I can ever explain how much that means to me. It makes every failure I've ever had well worth it. I get a lot of messages from people saying, "You made me believe in movies again." Well, you guys made me believe that what I spent my life doing was worth doing. And you strengthened my belief that nothing's worth doing, if it's not done honestly, and it's not done with love. On this, the one year anniversary of the cinematic Guardians entering our solar system: thank you, thank you, thank you.
We really are, truly, honestly Groot.
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