Disney's live-action Hercules producers Anthony and Joe Russo say music will "certainly be a part" of the re-imagining, but as part of a new story to be "inspired by" the 1997 animated original. The new film, penned by Wonder Woman 1984 and Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings screenwriter Dave Callaham, is the latest animated to live-action translation set at the studio following more direct re-imaginings of Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King, and looser translations of Cinderella, Mulan, and Walt Disney's animated Sleeping Beauty, rebooted as the Angelina Jolie-led Maleficent.
Because the project is in early development, the Russo brothers "can't say one way or the other" if Hercules will be a musical, but "music will certainly be a part of it," Anthony Russo told Collider.
Explaining their vision for Hercules, the Russos compare their approach to their four Marvel Studios blockbusters — Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame — each loosely inspired by the Marvel Comics source material.
"I think you always have to bring something new to the table because from our perspective as storytellers, it's not compelling for us to do a literal translation. We've already done that with our Marvel films," Anthony said. "We don't do literal translations of the comics because we feel like if you want that story you can go read that story. We're going to give you a different story. I think we'll do something that's in the vein of the original and inspired by it, but we also bring some new elements to the table."
Asked why the Russos' production company AGBO is backing a live-action Disney reboot after producing the Chris Hemsworth starring Extraction for Netflix and the R-rated Cherry with Spider-Man star Tom Holland, Anthony explained, "Both us and our kids are Hercules fanatics. And we had heard that Disney was interested in revisiting it and we're in love with the original. And we made a case as to why we felt we would be right to produce that film and here we are."
Iron Man director Jon Favreau, who rebooted The Jungle Book and The Lion King for Disney, is rumored to be eyed as director for the project.
Other remakes set at Disney include The Little Mermaid, again featuring the music of original composer Alan Menken, a rebooted Peter Pan titled Peter Pan & Wendy, a 101 Dalmatians re-imagining centered on Emma Stone's Cruella de Vil, a photorealistic redo of Bambi, and a live-action Lilo & Stitch planned to release on the Disney+ streaming service.