The live-action remake of Disney's The Sword in the Stone has reportedly been given a production start date. Continuing in the tradition of such box-office smashes as Maleficent and Beauty and the Beast, the studio hopes to transform another one of its beloved animated movies into a modern success, and this one is on track to become a flagship title for its upcoming streaming service.
The original The Sword in the Stone was released in 1963 and was notable for being the final Disney animated film to be released before Walt Disney's death. The plot was based on the 1938 novel of the same name by British writer T. H. White, and was adapted to include Disney's trademark elements of comedy and music. Weaving a fantastical take on King Arthur's childhood training by the wizard Merlin, it received mixed reviews but became the sixth highest-grossing film of 1963, and a beloved childhood classic for many. The live-action remake was first announced by Disney in 2015, shortly after the release of the similarly re-imagined Cinderella. Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo was then recruited by the studio to helm the production earlier this year.
Now Disney Film Facts is reporting that production on the film is definitely moving forward and that filming will take place in Belfast, Ireland, with a start date currently set for September 24, 2018. That date could well change with circumstance, but does seem entirely feasible. This would presumably place it at the Titanic Studios, which is also home to other recent productions like Game of Thrones and Krypton. It would also provide umpteen opportunities for location shooting in the surrounding country, something which greatly benefits Thrones. The idea of an Arthurian film sharing a similar look to that particular series is an enticing one. Fresnadillo is apparently still attached to direct and this adaptation has been written by Bryan Cogman, who is best known for his work on Game of Thrones and is also working on one of the upcoming Thrones spinoffs.
The prospective date also fits in nicely with Disney's plans for having the film debut as an 'Original Movie' on the studio's streaming service, which is currently due to launch next year. The start date seems to confirm that The Sword in the Stone will be completed and ready to stream by that time, and will probably circumvent theaters as an 'exclusive'. As yet there has been no news on casting, or who will play the lead roles of Merlin or Arthur/Wart. It's also unknown as to whether it will adopt a darker approach to its source material like Maleficent, or retain some of the animated version's musical qualities like Beauty and the Beast.
Although Guy Ritchie's King Arthur: Legend of the Sword bombed massively last year, there seems to be a revived interest in all things Arthurian, what with The Merlin Saga also being pulled together for Disney. Given the interesting choices behind the camera, and the huge amount of nostalgia for the original film, it will be interesting to see how this project progresses. We'll bring you more updates on The Sword in the Stone as we get them.
Disney’s streaming service is tentatively slated to launch in Fall 2019.
Source: Disney Film Facts