Last week we reported that Joe and Anthony Russo were set to produce a live-action remake of Disney’s 1997 animated movie Hercules. The muddled animated has its fans even though it doesn’t know if it wants to be a critique of athlete celebrities or an earnest story about finding where you belong, and now since Disney is mining all of its animated properties into live-action because the thought of an original live-action film is an anathema to the studio, they’re now in the early stages of trying to figure out what that live-action project will look like.
Steve Weintraub spoke to the Russos recently about the project and they explained why they wanted to sign on. “Both us and our kids are Hercules fanatics,” said Anthony. “And we had heard that Disney was interested in revisiting it and we’re in love with the original. And we made a case as to why we felt we would be right to produce that film and here we are.”
The brothers noted that they were still very much in the early stages of development on the project to the point where they wouldn’t even note if it was a musical or not because they simply don’t know. “We can’t say one way or the other,” said Anthony before noting, “Music will certainly be a part of it.” That being said, it sounds like they were leaning in the direction of playing with the formula a bit and not doing a shot-for-shot remake like The Lion King or an overtly faithful version like Beauty and the Beast or Aladdin. Anthony explained:
Well, I think you always have to bring something new to the table because from our perspective as storytellers, it’s not compelling for us to do a literal translation. We’ve already done that with our Marvel films. We don’t do literal translations of the comics because we feel like if you want that story you can go read that story. We’re going to give you a different story. I think we’ll do something that’s in the vein of the original and inspired by it, but we also bring some new elements to the table.
I think that’s the smart approach. The original animated version will still be there for those that love it, but I don’t need to see it rendered in live-action (“live-action” being a loose term for a largely animated movie with actors on a green screen). I’d rather the Russos and their unnamed future director figure out a way to make Hercules for a new generation rather than just comforting those who already love the original.