Disney's Live-Action Nutcracker Looks Like It Could Be Fresh and Exciting

Fantasia (Disney, 1940)
Fantasia (Disney, 1940)

Disney’s picked Lasse Hallström to direct The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, a live-action adaptation of the classic Christmas story. Amazingly, this is a live-action project that isn’t simply another take on one of its classic animated features.


Hallström (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) will direct a script from Ashleigh Powell. We have no real details yet, but this is the first Disney announcement in ages that actually feels like it could be exciting and new.

Disney did have an animated Nutcracker short and used Tchaikovsky’s music in one of the Fantasia pieces, but they’ve never done a full-length adaptation before. Which is odd, because The Nutcracker is kind of perfect for Disney. It’s got a young female lead, a fantastical land, an evil villain, and love story—one that, in the E.T.A. Hoffman version, also included a curse.


All of that works beautifully with the Disney aesthetic and isn’t something they’ve done before. I’m positively giddy at the idea of a Nutcracker adaptation that’s as beautiful-looking as Cinderella. The costumes alone!

And thank goodness for a live-action Disney project that doesn’t feel like they’re just phoning it in.


Contact the author at katharine@io9.com.


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I’ve never actually cared for the Nutcracker story. Lingering nightmares from when I was a child. The Rat King? No thank you. The ballet’s good though. Just the underpinning story I’ve never cared for.

And I love the music! The Waltz of the Flowers is my absolute favorite!