Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, joint frontman of the hip-hop band The Roots and musical renaissance man, will direct an upcoming hybrid live-action adaptation of The Aristocats for Walt Disney Studios. Yes, you read that correctly.
In a breaking news report that reads uncannily like a Mad Libs prompt, Deadline reported on Monday that Thompson, who won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at last year’s Academy Awards for Summer of Soul, will executive produce and oversee the music for the film, in addition to directing it. The script for The Aristocats remake is written by Easy A director-screenwriter Will Gluck and Keith Bunin, who wrote the screenplay for 2013’s Horns starring Daniel Radcliffe.
Thompson had reportedly been weighing several options for his follow-up to Summer of Soul before settling on The Aristocats as his feature film directing debut. It’s far from the first time Disney has snatched up an Oscar-winning director to helm a hybrid live-action adaptation of one of the studio’s beloved animated films, with Moonlight director Barry Jenkins currently working on a prequel to 2019’s The Lion King, titled Mufasa: The Lion King, slated to be released in theaters next year.
The original 1970 animated musical, directed by Wolfgang Reitherman of One Hundred and One Dalmatians’ fame, follows a family of Parisian house cats who learn they are set to inherit a large fortune from their elderly owner. When their owner’s envious butler schemes to defraud the cats from their inheritance, the feline family must join forces with a streetwise tomcat named Thomas O’Malley to beat the conniving butler at his own game.