Disney's Live-Action 'Lion King' Finds Its Writer

Lion King - Movie Still: animals dancing in front of moon - H - 1994
Walt Disney

Jon Favreau is directing the fast-tracked project.

Jeff Nathanson, a Steven Spielberg favorite, is in early talks to pen the Disney’s live-action take on its animated classic, The Lion King, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

Jon Favreau, the filmmaker who brought to life this year’s The Jungle Book for a 21st century version of the tale, is developing and directing the project, which the studio has fast-tracked.

The new Lion King won’t be live-action, per se, but will definitely look it. Favreau will build on what he accomplished with Jungle Book — using a real child actor and bringing to life the jungle and its animals via cutting-edge technology and a greenscreen set in a Los Angeles studio.

Lion King is considered one of the pinnacles of Disney’s animated movies, and animation in general. The 1994 pic was the culmination of the successful turnaround the studio undertook after spending much of the 1970s and 1980s in the doldrums.

Nathanson wrote Disney’s upcoming tentpole Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which is set to be released in May. He worked with Spielberg penning Catch Me If You Can, Terminal and Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. Other credits include Rush Hour 2 and 3.