Guy Ritchie is coming back for another piece of Disney pie. The director behind the 2019 live action Aladdin is coming back to direct another remake of a Disney classic. According to Deadline, this time the director will be tackling Hercules.
Ritchie’s most recent projects are a yet untitled action thriller alongside Jake Gyllenhaal, as well as directing and executive producing the spy action-comedy Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre. Both films currently have no official release dates yet. Operation Fortune was originally slated for an early 2022 release but has since been pushed back. Working with Ritchie on the Hercules reboot will be AGBO, the production company that was founded by Anthony and Joe Russo of Avengers: Endgame fame. Dave Callaham is slated for writing the first draft of the script, currently, AGBO is looking for additional writers to join.
The 1997 animated Hercules is the 35th animated feature from Walt Disney Feature Animation. The movie is considered part of the Disney Renaissance era and was directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. The film follows the titular young demigod (Tate Donovan) as he is separated from his parents, Zeus and Hera, and is turned mortal. With help from the satyr, Philoctetes (Danny DeVito), Hercules earns his way into hero status, earning the fame that comes with it. But when Hercules crosses paths with the young Megara (Susan Egan), who is working for Hades (James Woods), he soon learns the difference between a surface hero and a true hero.
Bless My Soul, Herc was on a Roll!
Hercules is both praised and criticized for all the various elements that make it a stand-out among the other Disney classics of the era. Utilizing the Greek myth, a gospel choir infused soundtrack, production design by Gerald Scarfe, and a script that balances fun and literal death, Hercules was truly something to remember upon its release. The movie was considered another box office success, with toy tie-ins, videogames, an animated series following the adventures of a young Hercules, even a Broadway musical adaptation! According to Screenrant, there was even a sequel in the works, but was cancelled in 2006 when John Lasseter was labeled as Disney’s new chief creative officer and pulled the plug on all future Disney sequels.
Hercules will be the next Renaissance era film to get the live action treatment. The film will be following 1991’s Beauty and the Beast, 1992’s Aladdin, 1994’s The Lion King, 1998’s Mulan, and 1989’s The Little Mermaid, who’s live action adaptation is set to release in spring 2023.
In 2020, the Russo brothers explained with Collider that the movie will be taken in a different direction rather than a shot-for-shot remake of the animated movie.
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.