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Jon Favreau shares his approach to remaking The Lion King

04.24.2017

Probably one of the most divisive pieces of news to come out the last year or so was the announcement that Jon Favreau would be directing a remake of THE LION KING, utilizing technology used in his JUNGLE BOOK film. Lovers of the original are reasonably worried it could tarnish the legacy of the original, but Favreau has opened up about how is approach is all about pleasing the fans. Those very, very, verrrrrrry vocal fans.

While being interviewed by frequent collaborator, Scarlett Johansson, at the Tribeca Film Festival, Favreau spoke to making THE LION KING with the fans in mind, talking about how staying true to the source material is one of the most important elements of any adaptation:

The Jungle Book was 50 years ago, Lion King was 20, and people grew up with it in an age of video where they're watching it over and over again. So, I have to really examine all of those plot points. Also, the myths are very strong in that, so you’re hitting something even deeper than the movie sometimes. What I’m trying to do is honor what was there.… There are certain expectations people have.
It’s about the audience having the experience they’re hoping they have, and if you can surprise them along the way, they’ll enjoy it even more, but you gotta live up to what they want, so you get greater pressure with these beloved stories.

He took a similar approach when making last year’s THE JUNGLE BOOK, which was met with massive acclaim and a jungle full of cash, and he spoke about how he was determined to recreate images from the Disney animated film that lingered with him:

I remember Mowgli and the snake. I remember the snake’s eyes. I remember Baloo going down the river and Mowgli riding on him like a raft. I made a big list, and I said those are the images we definitely need. And I remembered the songs.… And then you go back and look at it and realize there's all these things that you don't remember, and you have more latitude to shift and change those things. Some things you look back at and they're very flawed but they're forgiven in your memory.

KING is already on its way to ensuring fans of the original walk away from the remake happy and fulfilled, as it was announced earlier this year that James Earl Jones would be reprising his role as Mufasa, while Donald Glover had been cast as Simba.

Favreau is not new to the adaptation business, famously brining Marvel’s Iron Man to the big screen before getting into the Disney classics game, effectively kicking off the behemoth we know today as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, making Disney a galactic ruler all its own. KING stands as my all-time favorite animated film, and though I should want it untarnished, I have full faith Favreau can inject a freshness into the story while ultimately creating something that reaffirms why we love it in the first place. He has a long road ahead filled with both supporters and trolls along the way, but as long as he high-fives the supporters and spritzzes the trolls with a water bottle he'll be okay.

Source: Tribeca

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