Disney is on a roll with its live-action adaptations right now. After the box office success of Maleficent and Cinderella, the House of Mouse enjoyed greater critical acclaim (and bigger box office returns too) with the live-action Jungle Book. Next up is the highly-anticipated Beauty and the Beast re-imagining (the trailer for which broke the record for most views in the first 24 hours), followed by live-action re-imaginings of The Little Mermaid, Mulan, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Lion King, Dumbo, and Winnie the Pooh.
A live-action Winnie the Pooh sounds as though it should be all but impossible; how do you begin to make a live-action movie about some stuffed toys? But Disney have other ideas, and the movie that is now titled Robin, will actually focus on Christopher Robin as an adult, reportedly relying on a healthy dose of magical realism to bring everything to life. Though no release date is set for Robin yet, the project has landed a director in the form of Marc Forster.
Forster, whose involvement with Robin was reported by THR, has enjoyed a long and varied career already; directing films such as Monsters Ball, The Kite Runner, and World War Z. Forster also directed Finding Neverland; the 2004 film starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet that focuses on the life of J.M. Barrie. Many will recall that the movie told a deeply emotive tale, and was a big success, receiving 7 Oscar nominations. In that respect, it seems as though Forster could be an excellent choice to direct what Disney is describing as an "emotional journey with heartwarming adventure."
Robin will tell the story of a work-focused adult Christopher Robin (seemingly known just as Robin for this movie), who puts his work above his wife and daughter. He has grown out of his imaginative childhood, which saw him enjoying many an adventure with his Hundred Acre Wood friends, but the return of Winnie the Pooh changes all that - because Pooh needs help in finding all his friends and Robin needs to find a way to help him. Winnie the Pooh without Piglet? It's a heartbreaking thought.
Though each of Disney's live-action remakes present their own problems in terms of how the adaptation might be done, it is perhaps Winnie the Pooh that causes the most consternation. For many, Winnie the Pooh and all of his friends have been a big part of their childhood and are still thought of with great fondness. The popularity that the Bear of very little brain holds has simply never waned, and Disney has enjoyed massive revenue from various Winnie the Pooh films and merchandise over the years.
With that in mind: Disney have proven with Jungle Book, and may very well prove again with Beauty and the Beast, that it's more than capable of producing a live-action version of Winnie the Pooh's world that brings something new to the table - while also paying the perfect homage to its predecessors. Let's hope Forster can deliver the same for everybody's favorite bear.
Robin currently has no release date set. We'll let you know when that changes.