Sam Mendes in Talks to Direct Disney’s Live-Action ‘James and the Giant Peach’
Disney shows no signs of slowing down plans for their ever-expanding live-action empire, which not only includes remakes of classic animated titles, but new adaptations of various beloved properties, like James and the Giant Peach. Roald Dahl’s darkly whimsical children’s story is the latest project on the studio’s to-do list, with recent Bond director Sam Mendes in talks to take the helm.
Deadline reports that Mendes is in “early talks” to develop and direct the live-action James and the Giant Peach movie, based on a screenplay by Brooklyn scribe Nick Hornby. The Roald Dahl story was previously adapted into a stop-motion animated film in 1996, which was produced by Tim Burton and directed by Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas).
James and the Giant Peach follows a lonely orphan boy who suffers at the hands of his two terrible aunts until he discovers a giant, magical peach and befriends the bugs living inside of it. With the help of his new friends, James plans to escape his miserable life and use the giant peach to travel to New York.
Mendes, who is also known for helming American Beauty and Revolutionary Road, recently parted ways with the James Bond franchise after directing Skyfall and Spectre. Taking on a live-action family adventure for Disney is certainly an interesting choice, though not entirely surprising; Mendes helmed a stage musical adaptation of Dahl’s classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory back in 2013.
James and the Giant Peach is the latest in a line of live-action projects from Disney, which recently released The Jungle Book and Pete’s Dragon. Up next is Beauty and the Beast from director Bill Condon, starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the beast, and a Mary Poppins sequel starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The studio also recently tapped Miranda to collaborate with original composer Alan Menken on a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. Other upcoming projects include Tim Burton’s Dumbo, Cruella (starring Emma Stone as the classic 101 Dalmatians villain), Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time, Jungle Cruise (starring Dwayne Johnson), Tinker Bell (starring Reese Witherspoon), Lasse Hallstrom’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, and sequels to The Jungle Book and Maleficent.