We learned earlier this week that Mulan is joining the ranks of classic stories-turned Disney animated features that have received (or will soon receive) modern live-action remakes from the Mouse House. Today, we can add yet another beloved property to that list – namely, Winnie the Pooh.
A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh literature has been adapted for the big screen by Disney before – most recently, with the 2011 film Winnie the Pooh. However, the new project based around the residents of the Hundred Acre Wood – Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Rabbit, and Eeyore among them – might not be a straight-forward live-action “re-imagining.” Case in point: this feature will reportedly revolve around a grown-up Christopher Robin, who ends up reuniting with his old friends – including, of course, the lovable “Bear of Very Little Brain.”
Deadline broke the news that Winnie the Pooh is being written and directed by indie filmmaker Alex Ross Perry. That means he’s the second rising indie talent recruited to work on a Disney live-action retelling – after David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints), who is currently shooting the Pete’s Dragon remake. No additional details have been revealed about Perry’s project at the moment, though it will (presumably) be a live-action/CGI hybrid.
Perry referenced Lowery on Twitter in response to the news about his Winnie the Pooh movie being let out of the bag (see below). The filmmaker then offered some brief insight on his approach to the charming world that was originally envisioned by Milne.
In the words of @davidlowery: "I imagine a lot people are about to be very confused."— Alex Ross Perry (@alexrossperry) April 2, 2015
All joking and April Fools proximity aside, I truly love Pooh Bear and have my whole life so this will be for young kids AND people like me.— Alex Ross Perry (@alexrossperry) April 2, 2015
Perry’s filmography includes well-received, but non-mainstream, projects such as The Color Wheel and the Sundance Film Festival breakout dramedy Listen Up Philip. It’s a bit much to presume Perry’s take on Winnie the Pooh will therefore offer a vision of childhood (through the world of Pooh and friends) that has the psychological depth of, say, Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are. Still, Perry’s involvement here does suggest the live-action Winnie the Pooh could have some real artistic value, though.
The same goes for Lowery’s Pete’s Dragon, in addition to certain other Mouse House remakes in the pipeline right now – for example, Oscar-winner Bill Condon’s live-action Beauty and the Beast musical. Disney will keep on churning out these live-action re-tellings so long as they keep turning a profit (regardless of how critics respond), but at least a number of them are being developed by storytellers who have a clear voice – and therefore, have the potential to deliver something that amounts to more than just reheated leftovers.
We’ll bring you more information on Winnie the Pooh when we have it.