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Everybody wants to be a cat! Disney paws live-action remake of 'The Aristocats'

Start brushing up on your scales and arpeggios.

By Josh Weiss
The Aristocats GETTY

Crème de la Crème à la Edgar for all! Variety has confirmed that Disney has officially green-lit a live-action remake of 1970's animated classic, The Aristocats. Will Gluck (director of Sony's recent Peter Rabbit adaptations) and Keith Bunin (a co-writer on Pixar's Onward) will write the screenplay. Gluck, who is also producing via his Olive Bridge Entertainment, but it's unclear if he'll helm the project as well.

Per Deadline, which first broke the news, it's still early days on development and no word has come down on whether the impending movie will receive a theatrical or streaming release. With that said, audiences can expect a hybrid live-action/CGI approach (à la 2019's Lady and the Tramp) to the proceedings, given that a good portion of the main characters are talking animals.

One of the last movies to be approved by Walt Disney prior to his death in 1966, The Aristocats is somewhat of a pseudo-obscure gem in the Mouse House crown that eventually clawed its way into the hearts of subsequent generations by way of home video.

While not as iconic as some of the studio's other animated offerings, the film (directed by Robin Hood's Wolfgang Reitherman) continues to be remembered for its colorful roster of anthropomorphic protagonists and repertoire of catchy songs — particularly "Everybody Wants to Be a Cat." Its title is a clever play of the word for those individuals of high societal status.

The Aristocats GETTY

Set in early 20th century France, the plot revolves around Duchess (Eva Gabor, who'd go on to voice Miss Bianca in The Rescuers seven years later) and her three young kittens — Toulouse (Gary Dubin), Marie (Liz English), and Berlioz (Dean Clark). The feline family is owned by the incredibly wealthy Madame Bonfamille (Hermione Baddeley), who plans to leave her entire fortune to her beloved cats.

This doesn't sit right with Bonfamille's longtime butler, Edgar (Roddy Maude-Roxby), and the valet hatches a plot to do away with the pets in order to be next in line for the money. He subdues the cats with a sleeping pill-laced cream concoction known as Crème de la Crème à la Edgar. To learn how to make it at home — sans barbiturates — go check out the Binging with Babish YouTube channel.

The plan goes awry and Duchess and her children find themselves all alone in the Parisian countryside. Their only hope of finding their way home arrives in the form of a smooth-talking stray named O'Malley (Phil Harris, voice of Baloo in The Jungle Book three years prior).

Over the last several years, Disney has been reaching into its treasure chest of classic animated features for the purpose of remaking them in the realm of live-action. CinderellaBeauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book, Dumbo, Aladdin, and Mulan have all been brought into the fourth dimension along with infamous villains like Maleficent and Cruella de Vil. Several more remakes — including those for Snow WhitePeter Pan, The Little MermaidHercules, and Lilo & Stitch — are also making their way down the production pipeline.

The Aristocats animated version is currently streaming on Disney+.

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