Among the many things covered in an interview for at the Tribeca Film Festival conducted by Scarlett Johansson, Jon Favreau discussed his upcoming “live action” (CGI) adaptation of The Lion King, specifically, audience expectations and their familiarity of the source material:
“[With The Jungle Book, I remember Mowgli and the snake. I remember the snake’s eyes. I remember Baloo going down the river and Mowgli riding on him like a raft. I made a big list, and I said those are the images we definitely need. And I remembered the songs.… And then you go back and look at it and realize there’s all these things that you don’t remember, and you have more latitude to shift and change those things. Some things you look back at and they’re very flawed but they’re forgiven in your memory.
The Jungle Book was 50 years ago, Lion King was 20, and people grew up with it in an age of video where they’re watching it over and over again,” he added. “So, I have to really examine all of those plot points. Also, the myths are very strong in that, so you’re hitting something even deeper than the movie sometimes. What I’m trying to do is honor what was there.… There are certain expectations people have.
It’s about the audience having the experience they’re hoping they have, and if you can surprise them along the way, they’ll enjoy it even more, but you gotta live up to what they want, so you get greater pressure with these beloved stories.”
The Lion King will feature the voices of Donald Glover and James Earl Jones, and has no official release date yet.