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.
Like young Sophie is plucked from a window by The BFG ahead of an adventure in Giant Country, The Rock Father is plucked from Illinois by Disney for an adventure in 'Dream Country'... Hollywood.
It's pretty safe to say I live a dual-life at this point... or at least, it certainly seems like it at times. I have a bad habit of getting caught up in flight delays, and that's just what happened Wednesday night as my 5pm flight out of LAX became a 6:30-ish departure thanks to stormy weather in Chicago. A midnight landing found our plane without a gate, and by the time we had one an hour later, there was no one there to attach the sky bridge to the plane so we could properly deboard. By the time I was off the plane and caught the train to economy lot E followed by a quick bus ride to lot G and an hour drive home, I was back at HQ after 3am. I was running again by 7, my day consisting of taking the girls to/from Summer Academy/Camp, and stopping by Meijer for some groceries before half falling asleep on the couch with the kids while checking out LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures. While my norm is here in Lake County, I was back on the red carpet for the U.S. Premiere of Disney's The BFG this week... another adventure, and a big one - for a friendly giant.
Over the past few years, I've had the good fortune to count The Walt Disney Studios among the best friends of myself and the site, a relationship that has thrown open the gates to the "Magical World of Disney" to a big kid from Illinois who grew up loving Mickey Mouse and friends. With each group of new films and projects from the Disney family (Studios/Animation/ABC/Disney Channel/etc), teams of 25 writers/bloggers are welcomed to Los Angeles to get an inside look - and sometimes take part in events that go above and beyond what I would've ever expected. I'm thrilled to officially announce that this week I'm returning to Los Angeles as a guest of Disney to attend the red carpet premiere of The BFG - the new film from Director Steven Spielberg! While there, I'll have a chance to meet with much of the cast and crew, screen the film (twice - once before the premiere), and will be getting a look at the upcoming film QUEEN OF KATWE and Disney XD's FUTURE WORM in what is one of the most tightly-packed three day itineraries that I've ever taken part in. As always, YOU can follow along and interact with our crew LIVE on social media, tweeting/facebooking questions and comments. Check out all the details on #TheBFGEvent below!
When I reviewed the out-of-the-vaults edition of 1977's PETE'S DRAGON for the late Starlog Magazine back in 2009 (reposted here), I noted that despite its classic status, the "overall presentation is very dated," making it a perfect candidate for a remake. When Disney announced that a reimagining of their cherished family film was on the way, I was completely on-board, ready to see the tale of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliott (who just so happens to be a dragon) brought into a modern age. After a recent teaser, the first full trailer for the film has arrived, and can be seen below. PETE'S DRAGON stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence and Oscar winner Robert Redford. The film, which is directed by David Lower, is written by Lowery & Toby Halbrooks based on a story by Seton I. Miller and S.S. Field.