EXCLUSIVE: Veteran scribe Jeff Nathanson has been tapped to pen the screenplay for The Lion King, Disney’s re-imagining of the iconic animated pic that Jon Favreau has recently came aboard to direct following the blockbuster success helming The Jungle Book. The live-action film is being fast-tracked to production, though no dates have been disclosed.
Nathanson, whose writing credits include Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal, the Rush Hour films and Tower Heist, now joins the push to update and reinvent Disney’s classics for a contemporary audience. The latest, Jungle Book, a CGI/live-action marvel, has grossed $966.2M worldwide. Next in the pipeline is Beauty And The Beast with Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, set for March 17, 2017. In similar fashion to that film, the live-action Lion King will include songs from the original animated pic.
Disney and Favreau are also in development on a Jungle Book sequel.
The animated Lion King was originally released in 1994 and is one of the highest-grossing animated films of all time with a lifetime global box office of $968.8M. To extend its might, its Broadway musical adaptation won six Tonys in 1997 and is still going strong, with 23 global productions having been seen by more than 85 million people.
Nathanson is repped by UTA.