It seems like some stories are destined to be told over and over again. That especially seems the case these days when we’re seeing record numbers of sequels, reboots, remakes and reimaginings hitting the big screen. That’s not to say that new adaptations and sequels are necessarily a bad thing; while some end up being hated by fans, others end up setting box office records.
Disney is likely hoping for the latter with a new project that will reinvent the classic Charles Dickens tale Oliver Twist into a big-screen musical. The company has partnered with Ice Cube, who will produce and will also play a major role in the production.
According to THR, the film will be a modern musical that will cross multiple musical genres including hip hop. Ice Cube will write the treatment in collaboration with The Firm’s Jeff Kwatinetz, and Cube is also set to take on a starring role as the gang leader Fagin. Thomas Kail (the Tony Award-winning director of Hamilton) is also collaborating on the project, and Marc Platt (Wicked) is serving as a producer.
This isn’t the first time that Disney has adapted the story of Oliver Twist; in 1988, the company released the animated Oliver & Company which featured Joey Lawrence and Billy Joel as a stray cat named Oliver and the Jack Russell Terrier who took him under his wing. Though the current trend is for Disney to update some of its classic animated offerings with live-action versions, that’s not happening in this case; from the sound of it, this will be a completely new take on Oliver Twist that’s wholly unrelated to the update the story received in Oliver & Company.
Oliver Twist has been adapted a number of times before, including a popular stage musical called Oliver! It will be interesting to see how well Disney can approach the story without heading down the same path that others have already taken. While the themes of Oliver Twist are pretty easy to adapt into a wide range of story options, a number of the possibilities have already been done. Disney will need to tell the story in a way that connects with the audience, which is probably why the soundtrack is rumored to cross so many genres.
That said, there are probably some fans who would prefer a live-action adaptation of Oliver & Company over yet another twist on Oliver Twist. The project has a lot of potential, but Disney is going to have to go the extra mile if it hopes to make its new take on Oliver Twist into the definitive musical version.
Screen Rant will keep you updated on Disney’s Oliver Twist musical as more information becomes available.