One of my favorite places in the world is Legends Plaza on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, California. The first time I visited the studio lot, I had my picture taken right next to the famous "Partners" statue by sculptor Blaine Gibson. There are five versions of the statue, and visitors to Disney Parks know it well - a perfect vision of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, looking proudly in the distance, perhaps at what's been accomplished, but more intriguingly at what is yet to come. When I saw the latest catalog for Hallmark's Keepsake Ornaments (a tradition in our family) ahead of the annual July release, many items caught my eye, but one stood out - a version of "Partners" set for release this fall.
Later this month, I will be back on the ground in Los Angeles, working alongside my friends at Walt Disney Studios for the launch of their new film, Christopher Robin. Today, tickets for the film went on-sale (get 'em via my affiliate, Fandango) and families will get their first look into the Hundred Acre Wood on the night of August 2, for preview showings ahead of its August 3 release. As those tickets went on-sale, Disney also just released a new "Adventure" sneak-peek and an all-new featurette about the legacy of the famous characters created by A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard. Take a look!
I will preface this by saying that I have an overwhelming love for Winnie the Pooh. Our oldest daughter's first nursery (we were in an apartment before moving into our house) was decked-out in "Classic Pooh," and her all-time favorite and most cherished toy is a plush "Poopsie Bear." While I loved Pooh as a child, as a parent I will always have fond memories of sharing the Disney Winnie the Pooh tales with our girls, and this summer a new one will hit theaters. Christopher Robin is a live-action film that will open the world of The Hundred Acre Wood as characters from that world enter ours. See the teaser below...
At the D23 Expo in Anaheim this summer, I was in the room when Jon Favreau walked on stage to present a first-look at early footage from his reimagining of THE LION KING. I truly wish that all of you could see it, because it's phenomenal. Still, it was unfinished, but an evolution of the photorealistic animation that Favreau did so well with on last year's THE JUNGLE BOOK. Today comes word from Disney that the cast for this new vision for the 1994 animated classic has been assembled. See the full lineup below!
#TheBFGEvent coverage comes to a close with some formal thoughts on Disney's The BFG
With a creative team that brings back together the combined talents of Director/Producer Steven Spielberg, Executive Producer Kathleen Kennedy, Composer John Williams and the late Melissa Mathison as Screenwriter, it's hard not to draw immediate comparisons to the first film to feature that magical creative mix - 1982's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. It was in that same year that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory author Roald Dahl saw the release of his book, The BFG - a tale of a young girl and her 24' friend, "The Big Friendly Giant." 34 years later, The BFG has come to life on the big screen as a spectacular adventure for the entire family, one that many are looking toward as an "E.T. for a new generation" - a designation that is inaccurate, this coming from a writer who loves E.T. enough to have a statue of the alien in his office, and has also come to love the wonders of Dream Country.
#TheBFGEvent Special Feature...
After tackling stage and screen (both large and small) in a career that has found her facing off against zombies in SHAUN OF THE DEAD, performing Shakespeare in HAMLET, becoming a part of the time-traveling DOCTOR WHO legacy, and recently having been a part of DOWNTON ABBEY, Dame Penelope Wilton has amassed a wealth of experience over the years, certainly giving the veteran actress some choice in finding her next role, but sometimes the decision comes without question: "If Steven Spielberg wants you to do a movie, you do it! Wouldn't you say?" she says with a laugh, recalling the moment her agent pitched her on playing The Queen in Spielberg's adaptation of Roald Dahl's The BFG. "Yes, I would!" agrees co-star Rebecca Hall (IRON MAN 3, THE GIFT), noting that her call came with the note that "it's not a very big part ,but he has asked specifically for you to do it." Having loved Dahl's 1982 book as a child, Hall signed on without even looking at a script.