At Day Two at the D23 Expo 2015, Alan Horn, president of Walt Disney Studios, unveiled their plans for the upcoming live action film slate. Thanks to the success of ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Maleficent,’ Horn described the studios’ plan to re-imagine and expand on some favorite, classic tales. However, he also stated that they would do so in ways that would present new twists and yet, keep close with the original stories by “highly empowered leads and high stakes.”
Several “oh my god” moments left fans in a flurry with reveals in the likes of “Jungle Book”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Pirates of the Carribean” (yes!!), and much more.
The Finest Hours
We got to watch the trailer for their latest live-action adaptation of unsung heroes. Star Chris Pine came out to share his story about what drew him to the film.
“Coming from Science Fiction worlds,” Pine said, “it was so nice to read something that was ever more dramatic, where the stakes are ever higher.” He praised the people he and his cast became in their rescue mission on the rough seas, “They did right because that was the right thing to do.”
Director Jon Favreau came out to talk about his much anticipated adaptation of the beloved book and Disney classic. As a fan of the source material, Favreau took special care to honor what came before while retaining the essence of those versions. Interested more in “how do you build upon that legacy?” in the way that Walt Disney would, this version of the Jungle Book melds the latest in cutting edge technology and real acting by combining the practical with CG effects that only polish the real look instead of imitate.
Joined on stage by Lupita Nyong’o. Sir Ben Kingsley and the young Neel Sethi (who won over the crowd as the new MOWGLI), Favreau then introduced a special sizzle reel of the work being done. Being in the audience for this was a real treat because the footage shown was mind blowing! From just how real the environments looked, to the speaking animals being enhanced by voices you can empathize with, to Sethi just being MOWGLI in actual boy form–everything hit all the right notes. Speaking of right notes, you will get chills at Bill Murray (!!!!) as Baloo when Mowgli asks him what’s a song after noticing his humming and his reply that “everyone’s got a song” before going into “Bare Necessities”. We cannot wait for this and this really stole the Disney presentation, yes even away from ‘Beauty and the Beast’. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Um- WHAT? LOL)
Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass
Actress Mia Wasikowska came out to introduce a preview to ‘Through the Looking Glass.”
In the preview, we’re back in Wonderland and we see Alice seeking to save the Hatter from a mysterious plague. Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter reprise their roles as Alice travels through time to learn what she can do to help her friend before its too late. The panel revealed that Sacha Baron Cohen would be playing the role of Time.
Bryce Dallas Howard, straight off this summer’s Jurassic blockbuster, stopped by D23 and introduced a teaser of “Pete’s Dragon.”
We got a glimpse at a scene between her and Robert Redford talking about the child who lives in the forest that she happens upon. The clip ends with the fur of the dragon appearing and turning pink. “There’s a power in this story. It’s really about what it takes to find family.” Howard shared. We are way too excited to see what this one has in store!
Queen of Katwe
Lupita came up once again to discuss Nira Nair’s live action film that she will be a part of alongside David Oyelowo about a 12 year old chess prodigy who. She plays the mother too this revelation of a girl that gets inspired to join and beat the great masters of chess. “This is the story of the commitment to a dream despite discouraging conditions.” Nyong’o described.
Beauty and the Beast
OMG OMG OMG. YES! We got a look at Emma Watson in the classic yellow dress. THE DRESS!!! I wish we could have lingered on it because it’s just EVERYTHING. This movie is everything!!! While we didn’t get a sizzle reel of sorts, we got some footage behind the scenes and of the actors being so excited to be a part of the film. Emma shared her happiness at being Belle and hopes to do justice to the story we love. Oh, and you guys? Dan Stevens, as The Beast, has the hair like, on pointe. Then we saw Josh Gad and Luke Evans sing a short clip of ‘Gaston’ and they sound AMAZING! Head Chairman of Disney, Alan Horn, revealed that he met Emma when she was 10, when she was Chris Columbus’ only option for Hermione. He admitted that he questioned this girl being the only option and was shown her audition tape he said he knew, “It was over, she killed it” And that now he was thrilled to have her as our Belle. LIFE, you guys…LIFE.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Johnny Depp surprised the crowd when he made an appearance in full “Jack Sparrow.” After finding out he was at Disneyland, Sparrow proclaimed he had “never heard of it” the proceeded to toss grapes at the audience similar to John Lasseter’sPixar presentation the day prior, in which Lasseter threw shirts from the stage. The crowd went wild! We got the news that Javier Bardem is attached to play villain Captain Salazar. New romantic leads would be played by Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario. OH–and ORLANDO BLOOM IS BACK as Will Turner!!
PHEW. To think… we still had Star Wars and Theme Parks AHEAD!! Check back for more!