Disney is moving full-speed ahead with its The Lion King remake, and just a couple weeks after first announcing the film with Jon Favreau directing, the Mouse House has hired a veteran screenwriter to handle the script. Per THR, Jeff Nathanson will be penning the screenplay for the film, bringing the frequent Steven Spielberg collaborator into the fold. Nathanson’s credits include Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, as well as the final two Rush Hour movies. He’s certainly got a knack for quick-moving plot, but his hiring likely has a lot to do with the fact that he just wrote Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales for Disney, which opens in theaters next year.
The plan for The Lion King is not to make a live-action film, but one that looks live-action. The movie will build on the technology and aesthetic that Favreau established with The Jungle Book, which used a single live-action actor and minimal real elements and filled the rest in with stunning visual effects. The result was incredibly lifelike animals and, in retrospect, a proof-of-concept for a new Lion King movie, not to mention a worldwide box office gross of $966.2 million.
The film is being fast-tracked so this is Favreau’s next project, and one imagines he’s already hard at work developing how the movie’s going to look while collaborating with Nathanson on the screenplay. In the meantime, Disney is readying to release director Bill Condon’s live-action Beauty and the Beast next March, with Mulan now on the fast-track and Aladdin recently scoring Sherlock Holmes filmmaker Guy Ritchie to direct. All of this in addition to the other live-action redos Disney is developing, as well as Marvel and Star Wars, is further proof that they’ll run the world before the decade is out.