Disney Producer Talks Roger Rabbit 2 & Other Upcoming Projects

The Lion King 3D, Roger Rabbit 2, Maleficent

Empire caught up with accomplished Disney producer Don Hahn this week and managed to get a few bits of information out of him concerning Frankenweenie, Maleficent, Who Framed Roger Rabbit 2, and the 3D versions of Beauty & the Beast and The Lion King.

Hahn was at the time in London, checking out pre-production on Tim Burton's 3D feature-length remake of his short film, Frankenweenie, which is set to begin filming at Three Mills Studios in the near future.

The producer admitted that he was pleased that Burton was "back to doing puppets," which is a sentiment I share as well.  The gothic auteur's CGI-fests (see: Alice in Wonderland) generally seem to lack the kooky, creative zest of his most inspired works, like The Nightmare Before Christmas.

As for Burton's potential involvement with the upcoming Maleficent movie?  Hahn confirmed that the project was actively being developed but that "[it] is a way off and it's a little early to talk about it, except to say that it's happening." He also refused to confirm or deny the possibility that Angelina Jolie will play Maleficent so all you hopeful fans out there can keep that dream alive for now.

In case you forgot (or tried to forget) about it, Who Framed Roger Rabbit 2 is at long last being made, with the involvement of director Robert Zemeckis (last year's A Christmas Carol) and original Roger Rabbit screenwriters Jeffery Price (How the Grinch Stole Christmas) and Peter S. Seaman (Shrek the Third).  Did I mention that I'm less than enthusiastic about this movie?

Those that are intrigued to see a 3D, motion-capture/cartoon hybrid sequel to Roger Rabbit will take comfort in Hahn's assurance that work on the script is underway and that "... if you're a fan, pretty soon you're going to be very, very, very happy." Well, when he puts it like that... ;-)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit 2

Finally, Hahn revealed the Mouse House would be re-releasing two of their traditionally-animated features from the Disney Renaissance period (1989-1999) in the 3D theatrical format - specifically, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.  Citing the improvements in technology and the success of the 3D version of The Nightmare Before Christmas, Hahn seemed rather optimistic about both projects.

Do either of those beautifully animated 2D features really stand to benefit from the extra dimension?  I'm more than a bit skeptical at the moment.  I admit that Han has a point about The Nightmare Before Christmas working as a more immersive experience in the third dimension - much like the 2009 stop-motion flick Coraline - but cel animation seems like less of a natural fit for the 3D treatment.

What do you think?  Which of the 3D projects are you most excited for?  Do you want to see Jolie play the evil enchantress Maleficent?  Let us know in the comments section below.

The 3D Frankenweenie and Beauty & the Beast projects should arrive in theaters sometime in 2011, but don't expect The Lion King, Maleficent, or Who Framed Roger Rabbit 2 to show up anytime before 2012.

Source: Empire (via Collider)

IT Chapter Two Early Reactions: A Scary But Flawed Sequel

More in Movie News