Strapped for original movies, Disney+ has picked up Ashley Avis‘ contemporary adaptation of Anna Sewell’s classic 19th century novel Black Beauty, which will premiere on the streaming service later this year.
Oscar winner Kate Winslet voices the titular horse, a wild mustang born free in the American west. When Black Beauty is captured and taken away from her family, her story intertwines with that of 17-year old Jo Green, similarly grieving over the loss of her parents. The two slowly develop a bond that is built on love, respect and mutual healing.
Mackenzie Foy (Interstellar) stars as Jo Green, while Iain Glen (Game of Thrones) and Claire Forlani (Mallrats) co-star as John Manly and Mrs. Winthorp, respectively.
Avis directed from her own adapted screenplay, and the film was a co-production between Constantin Film and JB Pictures, whose Jeremy Bolt (Monster Hunter) produced alongside Constantin’s Robert Kulzer (Polar). Black Beauty was executive produced by Martin Moszkowicz, Edward Winters and Jon Brown, while Dylan Tarason served as a co-producer. Moonlighting Films president Genevieve Hofmeyr (Mad Max: Fury Road), who is based in South Africa where the film was shot, was also involved in a producing capacity.
I may not be adding Black Beauty to my own queue on Disney+, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an audience for this timeless tale. Disney’s streaming service is starving for original content, so this family-friendly film is a smart acquisition, and likely a best-case scenario for the film itself, as it’s now in a better position to be seen by millions of young girls, who have long appreciated this moving story.
As one of the world’s greatest actresses, Winslet can be counted on to bring great sensitivity to her voice role, and 19-year-old Foy is just starting to come into her own. She looks like a young Anne Hathaway in the image above the article, and now that she’s done films like Black Beauty and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, I fully expect her to seek out more adult material going forward.
Meanwhile, Winslet has reunited with her Titanic director James Cameron and will co-star in the Avatar sequels, which were just assigned new release dates.