The House of Mouse announced its project titled The Nutcracker and the Four Realms back in March, with Lasse Hallström already attached to direct. Deadline reports that Misty Copeland will appear in the movie’s only dance sequence as the lead ballerina.
The movie will be based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” in which a little girl named Marie watches in amazement as her toy nutcracker comes to life, fights the evil Mouse King, and whisks her off to a magical land filled with living dolls.
Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, which is based on that tale, has been adapted for the big screen many times over the past few decades, most recently in 2009, with The Nutcracker in 3D—a film that tried to use the Nutcracker as an allegory for the Holocaust. (Roger Ebert gave it one star, rightfully asking, “Who considered it even remotely a plausible idea for a movie?”) By comparison, Disney’s take is already off to a great start—especially with a star like Copeland on board.
Disney first announced its Nutcracker adaptation at a time when the studio could seemingly do no wrong with its live-action treatments—in other words, before Alice Through the Looking Glass tanked. But this latest project has a strong pedigree. Hallström’s filmography is an impressively stirring one: he helmed What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Cider House Rules, Chocolat, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, among many others.
That kind of heart seems like a perfect match for Disney—especially for a project with such a fanciful bent. And with a ballerina like Misty Copeland on board, things are already looking magical.