The first trailer for the remake of The Lion King might have confused viewers who initially assumed "live-action" meant seeing stars Beyoncé and Donald Glover walking around the jungle in actual lion costumes, but overall, the brief look at the upcoming re-imagining of the beloved Disney story seemed to excite fans of the original. But there's one person who still isn't sold on the idea: the 1994 original's screenwriter, Linda Woolverton.
The 65-year-old Disney veteran recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter's historical podcast, It Happened in Hollywood, to discuss her lengthy, impressive career (including how she got her foot in at the studio, which is incredible in this day and age). Naturally the subject of Disney's long line of planned reboots came up, and Woolverton seems apprehensive about tinkering with the classics, for good reason, after seeing how Beauty and the Beast was handled in 2017.
Woolverton noted how annoyed she was at the handling of Josh Gad's LeFou's character in the film, who is supposed to seem in love with villain Gaston. According to her, that's not how the character was intended to come off at all. "Was he in love with Gaston? No," she explained. "He was just a toady and besotted with a person he could never be."
She also questioned a change to the mythology of the Beast's castle, especially the sequence that sees the Beast able to travel to far off destinations (ex: Paris) via his magic mirror. "The castle is supposed to be impenetrable," she said. "After that, the mythology didn't work for me . . . I wasn't totally thrilled with The Beauty and the Beast remake because I didn't think it was exactly true to the mythology of the storytelling. And I'm not happy that I don't get to participate. Who would be?"
As for how she feels about Simba, Timon, Nala and the rest of the gang's upcoming return to the big screen? "I don't know how The Lion King is going to be," Woolverton said.
While her answer doesn't exactly give us faith about how the 2019 version will turn out, at least we have faith that Disney has rounded up the best possible cast for the film.