Early look at Disney’s next live action films: ‘Jungle Book,’ ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘Pirates 5’

Johnny Depp, dressed as Capt. Jack Sparrow, took the stage Saturday at Disney's D23 Expo in Anaheim.

Johnny Depp, dressed as Capt. Jack Sparrow, took the stage Saturday at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim.

(Jesse Grant / Getty Images for Disney)

Marvel and “Star Wars” sucked up much of the oxygen in the coverage of Disney’s Saturday panel at the D23 fan expo, but superheroes and droids represented only part of the two-hour presentation.

Disney also offered peeks at the rest of its slate of upcoming live action films, including “The Jungle Book,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and the next installment in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise.



Here were some highlights:

The Jungle Book

Fans of the classic 1967 animated “Jungle Book” may be approaching director Jon Favreau’s live-action remake with some trepidation. But based on the early footage the studio showcased — which was greeted with a standing ovation from the crowd of 7,500 – it looks like Disney has more than covered the bare necessities.

“We strive to both honor what’s come before while saying something new,” said Disney president of production Sean Bailey. “And with this title, the bar is very, very high.”

Introduced by Favreau, who took the stage along with stars Ben Kingsley (Bagheera), Lupita Nyong’o (Raksha) and newcomer Neel Sethi (Mowgli), the footage showcased the film’s impressive, seamless-looking fusion of photorealistic CGI animation and live action — and charmed the crowd with a scene of Baloo (voiced by Bill Murray) singing a bit of “Bare Necessities” to Mowgli.

After the reel was finished, Sethi spoke for everyone when he said, “That was neat!”

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Tim Burton’s 2010 smash “Alice in Wonderland” earned more than $1 billion worldwide and kicked off Disney’s spate of live-action remakes of its animated classics. With the sequel, directed by James Bobin (“The Muppets”), original stars Mia Wasikowska (Alice), Johnny Depp (The Mad Hatter), Anne Hathaway (The White Queen) and Helena Bonham Carter (The Red Queen) are on hand again, joined by Sacha Baron Cohen, who plays Time.


“With the introduction of Time, there’s quite a bit of time travel in this film,” said Wasikowska, whose Alice goes on a journey to rescue the Mad Hatter in the film. “We get to see the characters at different times in their lives.”

Pete’s Dragon

“Like many great boy and his dog — or boy and his dragon — stories, this one will make you laugh and make you cry,” Bailey said of the studio’s remake of its 1977 family film.

Disney showed off a brief sizzle reel from the film — which stars Oakes Fegley as Pete opposite Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford — but for now kept the dragon under wraps aside from a fleeting final shot of Pete’s hand stroking something enormous and furry.

Beauty and the Beast

Directed by Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls”), this live-action reworking of the 1991 hit animated musical stars Emma Watson as Belle opposite Dan Stevens as the Beast. With the film not due until 2017, there was no footage to show but Watson, in a prerecorded message, introduced a short video in which costar Josh Gad (LeFou) sang a verse from “Gaston” to Luke Evans, who plays Gaston.


Bailey said the film will include two new songs from composer Alan Menken and lyricist Tim Rice and promised that its production numbers will be “lavish and joyous.”

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Bailey’s announcement that Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner will return for the fifth installment in the “Pirates” franchise drew a huge ovation from the crowd. But when Johnny Depp emerged from the wings in his full Capt. Jack Sparrow get-up, the place truly erupted.

Slurring and swaying, Depp asked if anyone in the crowd was allergic to grapes and then began tossing grapes into the crowd, grumbling that he “hates the rotten little things.”

“Where are we?” he asked confusedly.

“Disneyland!” Bailey said.

Depp frowned. “Never heard of it.”

Twitter: @joshrottenberg



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