Disney is moving ahead with another live action remake of an antiquated classic, but this time around, things are quite a bit different. It was announced today that the studio will be making a new version of Oliver Twist. They originally did an animated version of the tale in 1988 with Oliver & Company, but this version will include Ice Cube and hip hop. And no, it won't reimagine the classic tale with CGI cats and dogs.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that the House of Mouse is looking to do a modern retelling of the classic Charles Dickens story. Ice Cube is currently set to produce the movie as well as write a treatment for the movie with producer Jeff Kwatinetz. Not only that, but Ice Cube is also set to take on the role of Fagin in the movie, the leader of a London game of pickpockets.
In addition to rapper turned actor and movie producer Ice Cube, Disney has also courted Hamilton director Thomas Kail for the project. The director won a Tony award for his work on the massive hit musical and most recently directed Grease Live! for Fox, which was very successful for the network. Disney seems to be going after talent from the Broadway musical, because they also snatched up Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda to write music for their upcoming animated feature Moana, as well as for a role in the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns. There is no word on if Miranda will also be working on this new version of Oliver Twist as well.
This new version of Oliver Twist won't be a traditional musical. It is said that it will cross many genres, including hip hop and will be a very modern take on the material. It seems a little similar to what Sony tried to do with their 2014 remake of Annie, which wasn't the most successful reimagining ever. But Disney has had a ton of success remaking animated classics lately, with Cinderella and The Jungle Book both dominating at the box office and Beauty and the Beast looking like it will do the same next year. That said, there have been plenty of live action versions of Oliver Twist over the years, and to clarify, this version is defintely not a remake of Oliver & Company.
Oliver Twist centers on an orphan boy who starts his life as an exploited child laborer but eventually is taken in by the leader of a gang named Fagin (Ice Cube). Along the way, the boy gets caught up in hardship, secrets and even murders. At the moment there are no other cast members attached and no timetable was given for a release.