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March 13, 2007 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | March 13, 2007 |

Confession: I didn’t see my first Disney 2-D film until I was 17, when the girl I was dating at the time inflicted the entire post-Little Mermaid catalogue upon me (you can read “Pajiba’s Guide to Third-Date Flicks” and make your own assumptions about how that relationship turned out). I didn’t like a damn one of them, either, which I think had more to do with the way I was raised that than quality of The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Mulan, et al. Anyway, after giving up on 2-D animation after a string of big-budget flops (Brother Bear, Home on the Range, Treasure Planet), John Lassetter — who took over the animation department after Pixar was merged into Disney — is giving it another stab, starting with The Frog Princess, which will be set in jazz-infused 1920s New Orleans. It will also feature the first ever black Disney princess, which is nice and all, but 1) it’s about goddamn time, and 2) the character is a freakin’ chambermaid, which ain’t exactly the best message to send with the first major African-American character. Both Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys are reportedly up for the lead.

The fellas behind The Little Mermaid, Ron Clements and John Musker, will write and direct The Frog Princess, which also promises to revive Disney’s brand of Broadway-style music (Randy Newman, naturally, will write the tunes). Personally, I think it’s nice to see a return to hand-drawn animation, if only because I’m sick to death of the glut of non-Pixar CGI flicks, but — man alive — that Broadway-inspired music just kills me. It jangles around in one’s head for days; I don’t think I’ve seen Beauty and the Beast in 15 years, but that goddamn “Gaston” song still pops into my nightmares at times and haunts me well into the day, reminding me interminably that “No one fights like Gaston / Douses lights like Gaston / In a wresting match no one bites likes Gaston.”

It’s due for release in 2009, so it’s not too late to take the television away from your little ones.

And speaking of kids, for those of you just dying to know how Angelina Jolie affords all those goddamn Huggies, you’ll be happy to know that she’s found further employment. Jolie, who recently completed production of A Mighty Heart (a film in which she had a Soul Man makeover to play Marianne Pearl), has now been cast in another film based on true events, The Changeling, which at first seems like a terrible name, until you learn that a “changeling” is the offspring of a fairy, troll, or elf left in the place of a human child.

… ?

Anyway, the film is based on events in the 1920s, in which the child of an L.A. woman (Jolie) is abducted. When the child is finally returned, the woman suspects that the child is not hers, which leads to the discovery of all sorts of L.A.P.D. corruption. J. Michael Straczynski, who wrote and created “Babylon 5,” penned the script. Clint Eastwood is in line to direct. Asked about how he felt at the prospect of working with Angelina Jolie, the star of Dirty Harry remarked, “I very much look forward to it. I also applaud Ms. Jolie’s numerous humanitarian efforts. But seriously, someone’s gotta pull that corn cob outta her ass.”* After filming on The Changeling wraps up, Jolie is attached to play Debbie Downer in the big-screen adaptation of the “SNL” skit.**

Finally, the reason why I didn’t see a lot of Disney flicks as a kid was because I was preoccupied with higher-brow fare, like Stephen King’s Children of the Corn, of which I have only the vaguest recollections now: eerie-looking rolling fields of corn and, of course, the creepy-ass Malachai (Courtney Gains, who is no less creepy 25 years later, and who will appear in Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween.). Anyway, word is that, after six sequels to the franchise, the powers that be at Dimension films have convinced Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II - IV) to direct a remake, which is about a boy preacher who convinces the children of a small Nebraska town to rise up and kill all the adults. A married couple passes through (originally, Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton) and ends up accidentally running over one of the kids; in an effort to find the authorities, the couple is ultimately targeted by the children. Who love corn. And really, it’s good to see movies that encourage children to eat their vegetables. In fact, I’m hoping the new Children of the Corn makes a political statement about the evils of fast food and the obesity epidemic in America. And you know who’d make a great Malachai? Haley Joel Osment! Puberty was not kind to that kid.

Moving on: This week’s DVD offerings include Casino Royale, Harsh Times, the anti-feminist flick The Holiday, and one of Jeremy’s favorites from 2006, Shortbus.

And in the trailer watch, I’m feeling particularly cruel this morning, so I thought it’d be fun to make a few of you weep. Therefore, I give you the trailer for Kickin’ It Old School. Watch at your own risk.

* I made this up.
** This, too.

Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He lives with his wife in Ithaca, New York. You may email him, or leave a comment below.

Children of the Pajiba

The Daily Trade Round-Up / Dustin Rowles

Industry | March 13, 2007 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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