Danny Strong, co-creator of Fox’s Empire, has been tapped to pen Disney’s modern and musical take on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Thomas Kail, the Tony-winning director of Hamilton, is attached to helm the project, which has Ice Cube on board to star and produce.
Also producing are Marc Platt, the veteran movie producer who was behind Broadway’s hit musical Wicked, and Jeff Kwatinetz of The Firm.
Oliver Twist is one of Dickens’ most famous works and tells of an orphan boy who moves from a life as an exploited child laborer to being under the wings of Fagin, a leader of a gang of London pickpockets. Hardship, murder and secrets waiting to be revealed follow the boy. (Cube is attached to play Fagin.)
Disney already took a stab of adapting it when it produced the 1988 animated movie Oliver and Company.
Strong is an actor who had key roles on TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Mad Men, but is also known for his acclaimed script writing. He won an Emmy for penning Game Change, the HBO movie about the 2008 presidential election that starred Julianne Morris and Ed Harris, and drew praise for Recount, HBO’s take on the controversial 2000 election.
Strong also worked on the last two installments of the Hunger Games franchise, while his most recent work was directing and writing Rebel in the Rye, which starred Nicholas Hoult and Kevin Spacey.