Disney is hoping to capitalize on the long-enduring popularity of E.T.A. Hoffman’s children’s story, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Generations have been enthralled by countless versions of the ballet adaptation, scored famously by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, as well as Disney’s own animated take on that composer’s work. Now the studio is hoping their upcoming live-action Nutcracker film will enjoy similar success.
The original 1816 story revolves around a girl who is enchanted by a nutcracker toy, which comes alive and transports her to a dream world engaged in an epic battle between dolls and mice. Casting has already begun for Disney’s The Nutcracker, with prima ballerina Misty Copeland likely taking on the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Fifteen-year-old Mackenzie Foy (Interstellar) has been cast as the central character Clara (known as Marie in the book). Now Disney has made what will likely be a popular choice for another important character in the movie.
According to THR, Morgan Freeman has been cast as Drosselmeyer, Clara’s godfather and the one who gives her the magical nutcracker. The “mysterious” clockmaker and inventor has a role in both the real and the “fantasy” world that Clara finds herself in, meaning plenty of screentime for the ubiquitous actor.
Freeman was most recently seen on the big screen in Now You See Me 2 and London Has Fallen. Other films include Lucy, The Dark Knight Rises, RED, and Gone Baby Gone. The Oscar-winning actor adds The Nutcracker to his ongoing pile of upcoming projects; moviegoers will see him next in the epic Ben-Hur remake.
Disney’s live-action Nutcracker will be directed by Lasse Hallstrom (The Cider House Rules, Chocolat) from a script by newcomer Ashleigh Powell. We don’t know yet if the new film will have more of a serious drama vibe like Maleficent, or go more surreal and over-the-top like Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Considering the material of the film, many fans may prefer the former, though Freeman usually brings plenty of charm and gravitas to even the most absurd films.
Of course, Freeman could potentially have a lot of fun bringing this character to life. But, with little known about Disney’s new take on The Nutcracker, much depends on how “mysterious” this big screen version of Drosselmeyer is and whether he’ll be decked out in that theatrical cloak and eye patch.
The Nutcracker is currently without a release date. We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.