Disney Starts Work on “Oliver!” Remake, Gets Danny Strong as Screenwriter

You’d be amazed at how many ideas Disney conceptualizes to develop into new movies for production. Now it seems they’re gearing up for a remake of Oliver!, the 1968 musical film from Columbia Pictures based on the original Lionel Bart stage musical, itself based on Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist.

In this initial stage of planning the Oliver! remake, Disney is tapping somebody to write the script. For this they’re going to Danny Strong, screenwriter for Game Change and The Butler. He joins director Thomas Kail (Hamilton) and producers Jeff Kwatinetz and Ice Cube, the latter also a cast member.

Oliver! and its source Dickens novel follows the life and misadventures of the orphan boy Oliver Twist, who escapes the cruel conditions of a Victorian-era workhouse and finds himself with a gang of street thieves his age, working for the miserly fence Fagin, who will be portrayed by Ice Cube.

The Oliver! theatre musical by Lionel Bart was first performed in 1960, and some of its songs became popular musical numbers: “Who Will Buy?,” “Consider Yourself” and “I’d Do Anything,” winning a 1963 Tony. The 1968 film version won five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Director (Carol Reed) and Soundtrack.

Disney’s remake of Oliver! is going for a major shakeup of the classic musical conventions, in particular employing an anachronistic cross-genre soundtrack. The fact that rapper Ice Cube is involved means there will be hip-hop. The project is being overseen by Disney Production EVP Tendo Nagenda. No premiere date yet.

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