Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms will be a live-action retelling of the classic ballet by Peter Tchaikovsky and the fairy tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann, but the amount of dancing involved is still unknown. Save for all-star ballerina Misty Copeland, the cast is mainly comprised of actors who aren’t known for their ballet skills, though actress Keira Knightley (who will play the Sugar Plum Fairy) is a fan of ballet. Now, a possible addition to the cast comes with the experience that only an award-winning career and a previous film about ballet can bring to the game.
Academy Award winner Dame Helen Mirren, who played ballerina Galina Ivanova in the 1985 ballet and dance classic White Nights, is in talks to join the cast as Mother Ginger.
THR broke the news, stating that Mirren is in the middle of negotiations for the role. The exciting number that introduces the character in the ballet is part of a celebration in honor of the ballet’s heroine, Clara, who rescues the Prince from an evil spell at the hands of the Mouse King and travels to the land of Sweets with him. Mother Ginger is best recognized by her enormous hoop skirt that her children, the Polichinelles, emerge from in order to join the grand number. This part of the act is called “Mother Ginger and her Children”. What role Mother Ginger (and possibly Mirren) will play in the adaptation is still up in the air.
While Mirren has played a ballerina in the past, any dance numbers might take some serious training. Still, after the performances of actresses like Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman in Black Swan, dedication and respect for the art can transform into incredible scenes. It’s even not clear yet whether musical numbers will actually be included throughout the film, but one performance involving Misty Copeland as a solo lead has been confirmed.
Rising star Mackenzie Foy, who made her name as a child star in films like Interstellar and the Twilight saga, is set to lead the film. Morgan Freeman is attached and will play Clara’s uncle, Drosselmeyer, a mysterious clock maker who gifts the Nutcracker to her. Lasse Hallstrom (Chocolat) is directing the film, with Mark Gordon producing and a script by Ashleigh Powell. Mirren’s upcoming slate includes a role opposite Will Smith in Collateral Beauty (which opens against Rogue One on December 16th) and will feature in 2017’s Furious 8.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is currently without a release date. We’ll let you know when that changes.