Kenneth Branagh Set to Direct Live-Action ‘Gargoyles’ Movie [Updated]

After languishing in development hell for an extended period, Disney’s highly anticipated live-action adaptation of the beloved 1990s animated series “Gargoyles” is reportedly beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The project, which is based on the original animated show featuring the iconic voice talents of Keith David, Jonathan Frakes, Ed Asner, and more, has faced numerous challenges and setbacks in its journey to transition from the small screen to the big screen.

The news of progress comes with the announcement that Oscar-winning actor and seasoned filmmaker Kenneth Branagh is expected to take the helm as the director of the upcoming live-action adaptation. The revelation of Branagh’s involvement was initially reported by his hometown newspaper, The Belfast Telegraph. Although known for his versatile talents both in front of and behind the camera, the finer details of the project, including the current state of development, the team of writers, and any potential cast members, remain shrouded in mystery.

As Hollywood grapples with industry-wide challenges, including strikes by both the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), it’s likely that the steady progression of the “Gargoyles” adaptation might face additional delays. Branagh’s dedication to the ongoing work stoppage is evident, as he has been seen participating in picket lines, standing in solidarity with fellow industry professionals.

Nonetheless, the film’s future seems promising with Kenneth Branagh at the helm. Branagh has garnered widespread acclaim for his extensive body of work, both as a director and a performer. Known for his propensity to not just direct but also star in his films, Branagh has successfully helmed a string of box office hits. Notable among these are his adaptations of Agatha Christie’s mysteries, such as “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Death on the Nile.” Furthermore, his semi-autobiographical film “Belfast” earned him and the film nominations for Best Director and Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

Branagh’s familiarity with Disney’s live-action adaptations is not new either. He previously directed the 2015 live-action adaptation of “Cinderella,” featuring Lily James. On the horizon, Branagh will be seen portraying physicist Niels Bohr in Christopher Nolan’s forthcoming biographical film, “Oppenheimer.”

The journey toward a live-action adaptation of “Gargoyles” has been a long and winding one. The original animated series, which aired from 1994 to 1997, was centered around a group of Gargoyles led by the iconic character Goliath, voiced by Keith David. The clan’s story takes them from medieval Scotland to modern-day Manhattan, as they awaken from a thousand-year slumber to navigate life in contemporary New York City. Alongside David, the original series featured voice performances from Jonathan Frakes, Ed Asner, Salli Richardson, Marina Sirtis, and Bill Faggerbakke.

“Gargoyles” achieved a cult following and became a cultural touchstone of its era. Efforts to adapt the series into a feature-length film were initially set in motion in the late 1990s. However, the endeavor faced significant obstacles in translating the show’s darker themes and complex narrative into a suitable cinematic form. Progress remained sporadic until 2011 when Disney brought on David Elliot and Paul Lovett, known for their work on “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” to rework the script. Unfortunately, this attempt also hit a roadblock. Acclaimed filmmaker Jordan Peele had also expressed interest in taking on the “Gargoyles” adaptation, but those plans did not come to fruition either.

Branagh’s involvement in the project offers a renewed sense of optimism and momentum. With his reputation for delivering engaging and visually stunning films, he seems poised to bring the Gargoyles’ story to life for a new generation. While no official release window has been announced for the live-action “Gargoyles” adaptation, fans of the animated series are undoubtedly eager to see these iconic characters grace the big screen once more.

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