With Disney already deep into post-production on a live-action retread of “The Little Mermaid,” and currently filming a controversial “Snow White” remake starring “West Side Story” star Rachel Zegler and Gal Gadot, the Mouse House isn’t slowing down. It was announced yesterday that British director Guy Ritchie will helm an upcoming live-action redo of the 1997 Disney animated feature, “Hercules.”
Disney’s “Hercules” tells the story of the eponymous character (voiced in the original by Tate Donovan) and Greek god. Living among mortals, Hercules becomes determined to reclaim his god-like status, becoming a quasi-celebrity in the process. Along the way he falls in love with the acerbic Meg (voiced by Susan Egan) and must defeat Hades (voiced by James Woods), the God of the Underworld.
Ritchie has brought success to Disney with a live-action remake before. He directed the 2019 reboot of “Aladdin,” starring Will Smith. The feature would go on to gross over $1 billion dollars worldwide, including $356.6 million in the United States. Ritchie most recently finished directing an untitled action film set to star Jake Gyllenhaal. Back in December a trailer was released for Ritchie’s “Operation Fortune,” set to reteam him with collaborator Jason Statham, though that film has been delayed.
Right now nothing else is known about the project, including casting. The original animated “Hercules” feature raked in $252 million at the box office, worldwide, upon release in 1997 though it was criticized at the time for being heavy on product placement.
Hercules has long been a popular subject in film and TV, Disney aside. Numerous actors including the original Hulk, Lou Ferrigno, have played the character. “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” aired on television from 1995 to 1999 with Kevin Sorbo starring. In 2014, Dwayne Johnson played the character in a take on the character directed by Brett Ratner.
Disney mining their animated catalog for new live-action feature opportunities doesn’t look to end anytime soon, especially considering the box office success of features like “Aladdin” and “The Lion King.” It’s currently unknown just how long it will take to get “Hercules” to the big screen, but it certainly shows audiences that their favorite Disney classics aren’t safe from the live-action treatment.