Disney Is Making A Live-Action Hercules & There’s Already Drama Over Casting

Photo: Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy of Everett Collection.
Disney has been breathing new life into many of the classics in its vault, re-imagining its beloved animated movies for old and new generations. After the success of films like The Jungle Book, Aladdin, and The Lion King, the entertainment giant is reportedly developing a live action remake of the 1997 cartoon Hercules (Disney has not yet confirmed the news). The film is said to be in the development stage, but fans already have a clear vision when it comes to who should be cast — specifically in the role of the melodious Muses.
According to The DisInsider, Walt Disney Studios is rumoured to be eyeing Disney favourites John Favreau and the Russo Brothers to direct the Hercules live action movie. Once a director is chosen, casting for the film will begin, and if Disney is smart, they'll read the room. The biggest challenge with bringing animated content to life is the casting process, which can make or break a film. Just ask the studio behind the disastrous The Last Airbender (2010) film.
There's no unified front as far as casting for the lead role of Hercules is concerned, but Outlander's Sam Heughan has come up a number of times, as has heartthrob Theo James. The internet seems to be on the same page about who they want to see as Muses if Hercules is greenlit, however. One name keeps popping up in the fancast: Amber Riley.
The world was first introduced to the actress and singer in the Fox musical drama Glee, in which she played Mercedes, the glee club's diva. Riley starred on Glee until the series ended in 2015 before moving on to the theatre space; she's since appeared in stage performances of The Wiz Live!, Hair, Dreamgirls, and Little Shop of Horrors.
Riley is an amazing actor, but it is her incredible vocal range that truly sets her heads and shoulders above the rest. After years of working on less mainstream projects, she recently stepped back into the spotlight to deliver a flawless rendition of Frozen's "Let It Go" as part of The Disney Family Singalong, and fans were blown away by her performance.
Followers of her work think she is an obvious fit as a muse in the Hercules live-action film. The five muses serve as the story's narrators, and they also are responsible for many of the original movie songs, including the popular "Zero to Hero." Lillias White, Vanéese Y. Thomas, Roz Ryan, LaChanze, and Cheryl Freeman played the original muses.
Riley is the most popular name in the Hercules fancast at the moment, but people have some ideas about who could play her fellow muses; powerhouses like Jennifer Hudson, Jazmine Sullivan, Fantasia, MJ Rodriguez, and Janelle Monáe have also been thrown into the mix. If even two of these women are cast in the film...whew. Just give me the soundtrack already.

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