The film will be the narrative debut of Oscar winner “Summer of Soul.”
Everyone wants to be a cat, but a lot of people don’t want to control cats. Count Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is in that rarer group, as the Oscar winner behind “Summer of Soul” makes his narrative debut with the remake of Disney’s animated film “The Aristocats,” IndieWire has confirmed.
A person familiar with the project told IndieWire that the film is a “live-action hybrid reimagining” of the original film, a 1970 animated film directed by Wolfgang Reitherman. In addition to directing, Questlove is overseeing the film’s music. The screenplay was written by Will Gluck, the director of 2014’s “Annie” and “Peter Rabbit,” and Keith Bunin, the writer of the 2020 Pixar film “Onward.”
The project makes sense for Questlove in some ways, because the film’s most memorable moment is a jazz sequence set to the song “Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat” — Quentin Tarantino claims the cat princess’ dance moves inspired him in that number directing the film. Uma Thurman for the iconic dance sequence from ‘Pulp Fiction’.
The original “Aristocats” focuses on the Parisian housecat family of the ultra-wealthy Madame Adelaide Bonfamille (Hermione Baddeley). After Adelaide gives away her entire fortune to her pets, her bitter butler Edgar (Roddy Maude-Roxby) kidnaps the cats to claim her fortune. The film follows the cats on their journey home with the help of a friendly stray. Upon its release, “Aristocats” received positive reviews and was a box office hit, grossing $191 million on a budget of just $4 million.
The remake is one of several live-action or CGI remakes of classic Disney animated films currently in development. In April, Peter Lowrey’s “Peter Pan and Wendy” will premiere on Disney+, and in May, “The Little Mermaid” starring Halle Bailey will be released. A “Snow White” movie with Rachel Zegler is also expected for 2024, as well as a prequel to the 2019 “Lion King” remake by Barry Jenkins.
He is best known for his work as the drummer and frontman for the Roots, which serves as the in-house band for “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Questlove made his directorial debut in 2021 with the documentary Summer of Soul. 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. The film was critically acclaimed and won Best Documentary at the Academy Awards.
The Questlove executive is producing “The Aristocats” through his Two One Five Entertainment production banner alongside Tarik Trotter, Shawn Gee and Zarah Zohlman. Gluck is producing the film through his company Olive Bridge.
Questlove is managed by Shawn Gee and repped by WME.
Deadline was the first to report news of ‘The Aristocats’ remake.
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