Ice Cube, ‘Hamilton’ Director Team on Live-Action ‘Oliver Twist’ for Disney

Ice Cube, Marc Platt, and “Hamilton” director Thomas Kail are developing a contemporary movie musical based on Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist.”

Cube will produce through his Cube Vision company and star as Fagin, the elderly leader of a gang of pickpockets in London. Jeff Kwatinetz of The Firm is also producing.

Kail is in negotiations to direct. The movie will be set in present-day America and use a combination of musical styles. Cube and Kwatinetz are writing the treatment.

Platt is a prolific producer of movies and musicals, including awards season contender “La La Land,” Disney’s upcoming “Mary Poppins Returns,” Fox TV’s “Grease Live,” and the Broadway musical “Wicked.”

Kail directed “Grease Live!,” which starred Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens, and helmed Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musicals “In the Heights” and “Hamilton,” for which he won a Tony.

Dickens began publishing “Oliver Twist” in 1837 — a story of an orphan who starts his life in a workhouse, is sold into apprenticeship with an undertaker, and escapes to join a gang of juvenile pickpockets.

The story has been adapted many times into stage plays and films. The 1968 movie musical “Oliver!,” directed by Carol Reed and starring Ron Moody as Fagin, won six Academy Awards, including best picture and best director.

Popular on Variety

On the TV front, NBC and Silver Pictures Television are developing a pilot-script deal for “Twist,” a “sexy, contemporary,” female-led adaptation of “Oliver Twist.”

Cube was a co-founder of the iconic rap group N.W.A and a producer on the group’s biopic “Straight Outta Compton.” He’s produced both “Ride Along” movies, “Barbershop: The Next Cut,” and “Beauty Shop.” He will next be seen in the New Line comedy “Fist Fight,” on which he’s an exec producer.

Cube is repped by UTA, the Firm, and Ziffren Brittenham. Kail is repped by WME.

More Film

  • (center) George MacKay as Schofield in

    '1917,' 'Succession' Among Top PGA Award Winners

    “1917” continued its string of major awards season wins on Saturday night, earning the Producers Guild of America award for best picture. Coupled with its win for best picture, drama at the Golden Globes, the WWI movie is officially the front runner for Oscar’s top prize. “It’s a film that is a tribute to all [...]

  • Bong Joon Ho, Jane Rosenthal, David

    Netflix Praised by 'The Irishman,' 'Marriage Story' Filmmakers at Producers Guild Panel

    Streaming giant Netflix received strong support from filmmakers behind “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story” at the Producers Guild of America’s nominees panel on Saturday at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Jane Rosenthal, one of “The Irishman” producers, said Netflix embraced the vision that she and Martin Scorsese had for the $170 million film. [...]

  • Gabriel Harel on MyFFF ‘The Night

    Gabriel Harel Discusses Dystopic Parable ‘The Night of the Plastic Bags’

    With his first short film, the animated “Yùl and the Snake,” Gabriel Harel won Europe’s Cartoon d’Or for the continent’s best animated short film, given at the 2016 Cartoon Forum in Toulouse. Now, Harel’s awaited sophomore effort, the animated “The Night of the Plastic Bags,” competes at UniFrance’s MyFrenchFilmFestival, and is available on a swathe [...]

  • MyFrenchFilmFestival: Profiling Benjamin Crotty’s Short ‘Nicolas

    ‘The Glorious Acceptance of Nicolas Chauvin’: Nationalism Wrapped in Charisma

    Winner of Locarno’s Signs of Life section, Benjamin Crotty’s “The Glorious Acceptance of Nicolas Chauvin” has enjoyed more than 12 months of festival success and critical acclaim as it reaches the end of its festival run at UniFrance’s MyFrenchFilmFestival. A modern take on one of France’s most influential yet widely unknown characters, the film headlines [...]

  • Alexander Ludwig

    Alexander Ludwig on Sharing his Recovery Journey, Playing the 'Bad Boys' Tech Guy

    With his towering height and stature, Alexander Ludwig looks every bit the action star, first appearing as Cato in “The Hunger Games,” and more recently as fierce Norse Viking chief Bjorn Ironside on History Channel’s “Vikings” and in “Bad Boys for Life,” the third installment of the “Bad Boys” franchise, with Will Smith and Martin [...]

  • Will Smith and Martin Lawrence star

    Box Office: 'Bad Boys for Life' Scores Big With $66 Million Launch

    “Bad Boys for Life” is showing plenty of power at the North American box office with an impressive  launch of around $66 million at 3,740 venues over the four-day holiday weekend. Sony’s sequel to 1995’s “Bad Boys” and 2003’s “Bad Boys II” far exceeded the studio’s pre-release forecasts of a $38 million weekend. The film, [...]

  • A Bump Along the Way Movie

    'A Bump Along the Way': Film Review

    While “Derry Girls” continues to be the last word in young, raucous female rebellion on the Emerald Isle, “A Bump Along the Way” has a little something to add. Sin the same Northern Irish city as the hit Netflix sitcom, but shedding the ’90s nostalgia for the Snapchat age, Shelly Love’s appealing, unassuming debut feature [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content