Disney Developing Modern ‘Oliver Twist’ Musical with Ice Cube and ‘Hamilton’ Director

     October 25, 2016


I guess someone, somewhere has been thinking “Please sir, I want some more Oliver Twist,” because the folks over at Disney have teamed up with Ice Cube and Hamilton director Tommy Kail for a modernized musical take on the Charles Dickens classic.

Cube will produce alongside Jeff Kwantinetz (Barbershop: The Next Cut) and veteran movie producer Marc Platt, who’s behind a number of movie musical adaptations; most recently, Into the Woods, La La Land, and the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns. Platt is also the producer behind the Broadway sensation Wicked, which is finally set to receive a movie adaptation at Universal.


Image via TriStar Pictures

This is just the latest of many, many adaptations from Dickens’ beloved story about an impoverished orphan boy struggling to make good on the streets of Victorian London, the most notalbe recent addition coming from Roman Polanski‘s 2005 incarnation. Disney themselves previously adapted the tale with George Scribner‘s 1988 Oliver and Company, along with countless film iterations over the decades. The story was also adapted to the stage for Lionel Bart‘s regularly-revived Oliver!, which premiered on the West End in 1960 before debuting on Broadway in 1963.

For the new iteration, Cube and Kwantinetz will write the treatment for a modernized musical, which THR describes as “crossing many genres, including hip-hop.” Cube is also attached to play the character of Fagin, the antagonistic master crook who recruits Oliver into his gang of pickpocketers. As a director, Kail earned a Tony award for his work on Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s Hamilton and two Emmys (one of which he shares with Platt) for his work on the televised hit Grease Live!.

Ice Cube had a major success last year with the breakout hit Straight Outta Compton, which chronicled the rise and fall of the legendary hip-hop group N.W.A. He’s slated to appear next alongside Charlie Day in the comedy Fist Fight, and has another installment of his comedy franchise Ride Along in the works.

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