Sarah Polley Is No Longer Directing That ‘Bambi’ Live-Action Remake

Sarah Polley is no longer attached to direct the live-action remake of “Bambi” for Disney, IndieWire has learned. The remake of Disney’s 1942 animated classic is still in development at the studio, even after the recent exit of live-action film head Sean Bailey. An individual with knowledge of Polley’s exit said there’s no drama in the split but simply said things didn’t work out.

TheWrap first broke the news in an analysis of Bailey’s exit. Bailey, in his 15-year tenure at Walt Disney Studios, had pioneered and greenlit virtually all of Disney’s streak of live-action remakes of animated classics, some mega hits like “The Lion King,” “Aladdin,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” and some like the recent “The Little Mermaid,” “Haunted Mansion,” and others that underwhelmed at the box office. Some of Bailey’s lingering projects include live-action takes on “Moana,” “Lilo & Stitch,” and “Mufasa: The Lion King.”

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Disney first announced its live-action “Bambi” adaptation in 2020, with Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Lindsey Beer set to write the script. Depth of Field production company was attached to produce. Polley was in talks to join the project in 2023 following her Oscar win for the screenplay for “Women Talking.”

“Bambi” was the fifth animated feature film ever released by Disney. The movie was an adaptation of Felix Salten’s novel about a young, motherless deer who befriends fellow woodland creatures. The live-action movie would likely be in the style of “The Lion King,” which resembled a live-action feature but was largely animated with CGI rather than hand-drawn animation. The original film was also a trim 69 minutes long, so it’s likely any modern remake would have to pad that out.

Disney’s “Bambi” earned Oscar nominations for Best Sound, Best Song, and Best Original Music Score. The film was entered into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2011.

Taking over for Bailey is David Greenbaum, previously the head of Searchlight Pictures alongside his partner Matthew Greenfield, who is remaining as the sole head of Searchlight. Greenbaum will oversee live-action films at Disney as well as projects under the 20th Century Studios label. Bailey will be moving into a full-time producing role on the upcoming “Tron: Ares.”

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