‘The Aristocats’ Taps the Genius Questlove to Direct Disney’s Live-Action/Hybrid Remake

Oscar-winning director Questlove will be directing the live-action remake of Disney’s animated musical, The Aristocats!

Oscar-winning director Questlove will be directing the live-action/hybrid remake of Disney’s animated musical, The Aristocats!

Originally released in December 1970, The Aristocats focuses on the titular wealthy feline family: Duchess and her kittens Toulouse, Marie, and Berlioz. Their owner, Madame Bonfamille, leaves her fortune to the cats in her will; her butler, Edgar Balthazar, tries to get rid of the cats to take the inheritance for himself. With the help of alley cat Thomas O’Malley, Duchess and the kittens make their way back home.

The Aristocats was the final film that Walt Disney greenlit in his lifetime, with production beginning after the completion of The Jungle Book (1967). The film loosely adapts an obscure work of the same name by Tom McGowan and Tom Rowe, about a mother cat and her kittens in New York City. Although originally developed as a two-part live-action episode of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, it was retooled into an animated feature to better convey the characters and story.

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Everybody’s Pickin’ Up on That Feline Beat!

The 1970 animated film was directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, who was also the producer alongside Winston Hibler. The voice cast included Phil Harris, Eva Gabor, Sterling Holloway, Scatman Crothers, Paul Winchell, Lord Tim Hudson, and Thurl Ravenscroft. George Bruns composed the instrumental soundtrack, with the Sherman Brothers writing the songs before their final work for Disney with The Tigger Movie.

In January 2022, Disney announced a live-action remake of The Aristocats, with Will Gluck and Keith Bunin as the writers. Gluck previously worked on Sony’s Peter Rabbit and its sequel Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway. Keith Bunin’s credits include plays such as The Credeaux Canvas, The World Over, and Onward. The visual style would be similar to that of Lady and the Tramp (2019) and several other Disney remakes, blending live action and CGI.

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The Aristocats Finds Their Band Leader

On March 27, it was announced that Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson will be directing The Aristocats remake. As well as overseeing the music of the film, he will also executive produce alongside Tarik Trotter, Shawn Gee, and Zarah Zohlman. The respective production companies of Gluck and Questlove, Olive Bridge, and Two One Five Entertainment, will produce the film.

Questlove is a founding member of The Roots, which served as the in-house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon as well as The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He additionally directed Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), a critically acclaimed documentary film about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival.  Questlove also previously worked with Disney as a musical consultant and the voice of Curley in Pixar’s 2020 film Soul.

With The Aristocats remake in production and two more live-action adaptations (The Little Mermaid (2023) and Snow White (2024)) coming to theaters, Disney is showing no signs of slowing down in bringing new life to beloved classics in their ever-expanding film library. Other films to be released from the studio include Elemental, Wish, Elio, and sequels to several properties (Inside Out, Frozen, Toy Story, Zootopia). With Disney approaching its 100th anniversary, audiences can look forward to new productions from the studio.

The Aristocats

What are your thoughts on Questlove directing The Aristocats remake? How do you think he will reimagine the story of Duchess and her kittens? Will they replace the song about Siamese cats? Let us know on social media!

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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Alyssa Ishiguro

A friendly, intelligent lady with a passion for pop culture. Having graduated from California State University Northridge with a BA in Languages & Cultures (French Option), she has a knack for learning a vast variety of topics. Her pastimes include reading, drawing, and video games, with especial interests in Pokémon and Disney.