At least on the screen, director Bill Condon has lately moved away from the musical roots that had his “Dreamgirls” a much-talked-about movie eight years ago, and his screenplay for “Chicago” even buzzier a few years before that.
In a tale as old as time, Condon wants back in.
The director, who spent years toiling in “Twilight"-ville with the two "Breaking Dawn" movies and then struck out with his Wikileaks story “The Fifth Estate” last year, will take on “Beauty and the Beast,” a live-action (presumably music-centric-if-not-outright-musical) remake of the 1991 animated hit that Disney began developing in early 2013. Variety had the news first, noting that Evan Spiliotopoulos, screenwriter of next month's Dwayne Johnson-starring "Hercules," is writing for “Muppets” producer Mandeville Films, though not noting this project has been around for a while with Mandeville and previously had “Trance” writer Joe Ahearne taking a crack.
The new “Beast” comes on the heels of a solid $69-million opening for “Maleficent,” the “Sleeping Beauty” spin that, because all fairy-tale movies are separated by no more than two degrees, is written by Linda Woolverton, who wrote ... the 1991 “Beauty and the Beast.”
Nostalgia is in the air elsewhere at Disney, which has a “Cinderella” movie upcoming, an "Aladdin" that's a hit on Broadway, and has also released retouched/converted takes on “Beauty” in recent years. The Condon movie will doubtless have a new spin — more than two decades later the genre has gotten a little darker — but hopefully will be a return to the director's roots.