Disney+ has announced that it is bringing a new adaptation of Black Beauty to the streaming service later this year. The movie serves as a contemporary adaptation of Anna Sewell's classic 19th-century novel of the same name. To go along with the announcement Disney has also revealed a pair of images featuring Mackenzie Foy, who stars in the leading role, alongside the black-haired stallion, voiced by Kate Winslet.
The images aren't too revealing in themselves, but they do give us a look at the new Black Beauty and Jo Green. We see the two interacting with one another, seemingly at the start of their journey. The full cast includes Oscar-winner Kate Winslet (The Reader) as the voice of Black Beauty, Mackenzie Foy (Interstellar) as Jo Green, Iain Glen (Game of Thrones) as John Manly and Claire Forlani (Meet Joe Black) as Mrs. Winthorp.
Produced by Constantin Film and JB Pictures, this did not start out as an original for Disney+. Rather, it represents an acquisition by the studio for its budding streaming service. Disney launched the service in November of last year, with the aim to compete with Netflix in the direct-to-consumer space. Disney has used its strongest brands, such as Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar to draw in subscribers in the early days. Now, the goal is to bolster its library of originals.
Black Beauty tells the story of a wild mustang born free in the American west. She is captured and taken away from her family. The horse's story is intertwined with that of a 17-year old named Jo Green (Mackenzie Foy), who similarly lost her parents. The two end up developing a bond that is built on love, respect and mutual healing. Originally published in 1877, the story has been adapted a number of times over the years, both for the big and small screen. Warner Bros. released a well-regarded movie adaptation in 1994, which was directed by Caroline Thompson. Disney, interestingly enough, did produce an adaptation of the story which was released as a record in 1966.
This latest streaming version sees Ashley Avis (Adolescence) in the director's chair. Avis also wrote the screenplay. JB Pictures' Jeremy Bolt (Polar, Monster Hunter) and Robert Kulzer (Polar) from Constantin Film are on board as producers. Martin Moszkowicz, Edward Winters and Jon Brown are executive producers. Dylan Tarason is a co-producer, with Moonlighting Films president Genevieve Hofmeyr (Mad Max: Fury Road) serving as the South African producer.
Disney had been relying on some of this year's planned theatrical releases to make their way to Disney+ later in the year after their run at the box office. However, with theaters shut down, those plans have been put on hold, leaving the studio in need of new features to release. Similar streaming deals have been made in recent months for other would-be theatrical releases. There is no word yet on a firm release date. However, Black Beauty will arrive later this year exclusively via the Disney+ streaming app. Be sure to check out the first-look images for yourself.