Disney taps ‘Jungle Book’ director for live-action ‘Lion King’

WASHINGTON — He directed this year’s live-action “The Jungle Book” into one of the biggest blockbusters of 2016, grossing nearly $966 million worldwide.

Now, Disney has tapped Jon Favreau to direct its upcoming live-action remake of “The Lion King,” once again blending CGI animals with live-action actors performing in front of green screens.

The Hollywood Reporter reports Disney has fast-tracked the project after the recent success of other live-action remakes of classic Disney animated movies, including “Maleficent” (2014), “Cinderella” (2015), “The Jungle Book” (2016) and next year’s “Beauty and the Beast” (2017).

Like “The Jungle Book,” the new “Lion King” will feature songs from the 1994 animated film, which won two Oscars for Best Original Song (“Can You Feel the Love Tonight” by Elton John and Tim Rice) and Best Original Score (Hans Zimmer). Two other songs were also nominated for Best Original Song, “The Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata,” also by Elton John (music) and Tim Rice (lyrics).

Favreau has proved a Hollywood hitmaker after “Elf” (2003) and “Iron Man” (2008).

No word yet on when the new “Lion King” will be released.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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