8:29am PT by Rebecca Ford
Disney to Adapt Iconic 'Fantasia' Sequence Into Live-Action Movie (Exclusive)
Disney is conjuring up a live-action movie based on the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence from the studio's animated classic Fantasia.
Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless will write the script for the project — which is in early development at the studio — based on the 1940's animated film. The hot writing duo is also executive producing the film.
The "Night on Bald Mountain" section of Fantasia centered on a dark winged creature who raised spirits from the dead. They dance, fly through the air and enjoy an night of mayhem until they fade away as the night ends and the sun begins to rise. (Watch video below.)
Fantasia was comprised of eight animated segments that were set to pieces of classical music. Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky first created the music used in the "Night on Bald Mountain" section in 1867, and it was arranged by Leopold Stokowski for the film, introducing the now-well-known music to a much wider audience.
Sources say the live-action take will be similar to what Disney did with Maleficent, which starred Angelina Jolie as the iconic witch. Maleficent earned a spell-binding $758.4 million worldwide when it was released in May 2014.
Sazama and Sharpless are a good fit for a dark fantasy tale as they've been building up a solid career based on work that fits into this genre, and have recently grown into a go-to team for this sort of world creation. The duo wrote the script for Universal's Dracula Untold starring Luke Evans, which hit theaters in October. Along with Cory Goodman, they wrote the screenplay for The Last Witch Hunter, Summit's upcoming action-adventure fantasy starring Vin Diesel which hits theaters on Oct. 23. They also wrote the script for Gods of Egypt, the Summit film starring Gerard Butler and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau that will open April 8, 2016. They're repped by ICM, Artists House Management and Stone, Meyer.
Disney has been diving head first into its animated classics to remake them as live action versions. Following Maleficent, Cinderella was released earlier in 2015, and has earned a stellar $531.8 million worldwide. A live-action version of Beauty and the Beast will star Emma Watson; Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp are set to star in sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass for 2016; and the studio's live-action The Jungle Book, directed by Jon Favreau, will also be released in 2016. Disney is also working on live-action versions of Mulan, Dumbo (Tim Burton will direct) and a Tinker Bell story starring Reese Witherspoon.