According to reports, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson has been picked by Walt Disney Studios to be the director for the live-action hybrid reimagining of their animated classic from 1970, The Aristocats. Questlove will also oversee the musical score of the film and serve as an executive producer through his Two One Five production company. His bandmate and co-founder of The Roots, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter will also be a producer of the film along with Shawn Gee and Zarah Zohlman.
The Aristocats follows a family of Parisian felines who learn that they’re about to inherit the fortune of their owner, a retired operatic diva. Her butler, who gets wind of the bequeathment, plots to get rid of the cats so he can get the fortune. The movie then follows the cats as they are befriended by an alley cat who works to help them get home. It would go on to be one of Disney’s more lucrative films at the time, earning $191 million at the box office.
This project will be the first feature film that Questlove will direct. The six-time Grammy Award-winner began his foray into film as a producer and director of the 2021 documentary Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised). The film, which unearthed the backstory of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. It would go on a tear winning awards culminating in it winning the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2022. The win placed Questlove in rarified air as one of a few Black directors to win an Oscar–all of them in the documentary field.
The news comes as fans are eagerly anticipating Disney’s latest edition of their series reimagining their classic animated features with The Little Mermaid, featuring singer & actress Halle Bailey in the iconic role of Ariel and Melissa McCarthy portraying the villain, Ursula. Will Gluck and his production company, Olive Bridge, will also produce on the film in addition to writing the script along with Keith Bunin.
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