Disney isn’t done pumping out remakes of its classic animated features just yet, and the next title in the pipeline appears to be 1942’s Bambi.
Citing multiple anonymous sources, Deadline broke the news regarding Disney’s plans for the remake and said that Women Talking screenwriter and director Sarah Polley is in discussions to direct the feature. Polley doesn’t have any animation or cg-heavy films on her directorial resume, but she is an extremely accomplished filmmaker and actress who won an Oscar for adapting the screenplay to Women Talking.
Expectedly, many sources, Deadline included, are referring to the film as a live-action remake, but we’re skeptical that Disney will be casting any woodland creatures for the new Bambi. We expect something more akin to 2019’s photorealistic cg-animated remake The Lion King, which only included one real live-action shot.
Or, maybe Twitter user Tom Zohar had some privileged information when he posted his now-viral tweet yesterday.
— Tom Zohar (@TomZohar) June 13, 2023
In any case, the project’s current screenplay was written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster (Transparent) and Chris and Paul Weitz’s Depth of Field will produce. The film is being developed as a musical and will feature music from Grammy-winning country singer Kacey Musgraves.
Disney revisiting Bambi always felt inevitable after the success of remakes like The Lion King – the highest-grossing animated film of all time, Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book, and Aladdin. Then, in 2020, news broke that the company was indeed working on a Bambi remake and an updated live-action/animation hybrid version of Pinocchio.
At the time, we suggested that both films presented challenges for Disney in that they lacked elements that helped propel recent remakes to such success. In the case of Bambi, the film is light on plot, has no villains, its most dramatic incident happens offscreen, and the narrative is essentially a series of vignettes that unfold at a measured pace.
Perhaps the less said about last year’s Pinocchio remake, the better.