Disney has been doing live-action redos of their animated films for a good while now, and they tend to come in one of two flavors: renegade (think Maleficent and Cruella turning villains into at least semi-heroes) and more or less slavishly faithful (The Lion King, Cinderella, The Jungle Book). It sounds like the forthcoming revamp of 1997’s Hercules will be in the former camp, though not because it reimagines the story and makes Hades some misunderstood sadsack or something. It’s because the minds behind it are thinking so outside the box it’s not even clear what they have in store.
Variety spoke with Joe and Anthony Russo, the filmmakers who struck gold with a string of ultra-successful Marvel movies, including the last two Avengers romps. They’re producing Hercules, which will be helmed by Guy Ritchie, who also lorded over the Aladdin remake. They said they’re keeping it a musical, which not all of the redos do (see: Mulan). But they’re turning to an unlikely source of inspiration.
“There are questions about how you translate it as a musical,” Joe Russo said. “Audiences today have been trained by TikTok, right? What is their expectation of what that musical looks like and feels like? That can be a lot of fun and help us push the boundaries a little bit on how you execute a modern musical.”
Russo didn’t elaborate on what he means, leaving one to wonder at how on earth they could bring short-form videos made by anyone with a smartphone to a medium that’s getting, if anything, longer than ever. (The Russos themselves are responsible for one of the longest blockbusters since the age of Biblical epics.) But you know what? Filmmakers should try new things, be inspired by the outside-the-box. And the musical could use some new lifeblood. Go for it, dudes. Long as you bring back DeVito.