Disney Developing New 'White Fang' Movie (Exclusive)

White Fang Still Original - H 2014
Courtesy of Everett Collection

White Fang Still Original - H 2014

The writer of 'Motorcycle Diaries' and Spike Jonze's longtime director of photography are behind the new take

Disney is having another bite at White Fang.

The studio is developing a new adaptation of the classic Jack London story, which was previously tackled with its 1991 adventure movie that starred Ethan Hawke.

Jose Rivera, who was nominated for an Oscar for penning the 2004 movie The Motorcycle Diaries, has been hired to write the new version, and award-winning cinematographer Lance Acord is attached to make his feature directorial debut. Acord is known for working with Spike Jonze on films such as Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Where the Wild Things Are.

The 1991 movie told the story of a young man in Alaska during the turn-of-the-20th-century Gold Rush who comes to befriend a wolf dog during adventures involving starving wolves, Aboriginal peoples, grizzly bears and dogfighters.

London’s tale was considerably larger, set in Canada’s Yukon Territory, and told of the life of the wolf dog from the animal’s point of view in a wild and often surprisingly violent story of survival. The animal being rescued from the dogfighters by a young man who tries to tame him is only a small part of the original story.

Hawke starred in the movie, which he booked after his breakout in 1989’s Dead Poets Society. Randal Kleiser, who directed Grease and The Blue Lagoon, helmed the movie, which was followed by a sequel in 1994, White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf.

It is unclear at this stage how gritty Disney plans on making Fang, but it will be a modern adaptation with the London novel as its source. 

Rivera’s work includes The 33, the Chilean miners survival movie that recently wrapped production, and On the Road, the adaptation of the Jack Kerouac novel that starred Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart. Rivera is repped by WME and Code Entertainment.

Acord, repped by CAA, last shot God’s Pocket, a drama that turned out to be one of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final films. He also worked with Sofia Coppola on Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette. Beyond his camera work, Acord is a noted directed in the commercials field and has been thrice-nominated by the DGA. Last year he won an Emmy for outstanding commercial for an Apple ad he directed.

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