Disney is continuing on its quest to convert its most beloved animated titles into live-action movies. We already have upcoming features like Peter Pan & Wendy and The Little Mermaid both of which will recount the classic stories with a contemporary touch. In a similar vein, the giant also announced a live-action remake of Lilo & Stich, and the wheels seem to be rolling as the feature found its Lilo in Maia Kealoha, Nani in Sydney Elizabeth Agudong and Kahiau Machado as Nani’s love interest David.
However, a new report from The Hollywood Reporter reports that Machado has been quietly replaced with newcomer Kaipo Dudoit. After Machado’s casting was announced internet found out about his Spotify account which mentions racial slurs. As per the report, “Disney’s vetting process, previous posts in which the actor used racial slurs were uncovered on social media,” which seems to be the catalyst of the recasting.
Hollywood’s Trouble with Troubled Talent
In times when the industry is going through a major overhaul given the advent of streaming services, and change in consumption of content by audiences resulting in the rethinking of talent and content across the board big studios are playing quite safe. There are also instances of movies getting backlash for featuring actors who are in legal trouble, for example Ezra Miller’s impending The Flash, whose box office fate is uncertain despite the trailer exciting the audience. Then there’s Jonathan Majors, who made a splash as the next Marvel Cinematic Universe big bad Kang the Conqueror with Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania getting into serious legal trouble weeks after the movie’s release.
While Majors’ publicist and representatives have dropped the actor a decision on Disney or Marvel’s part is yet pending. Once a studio is deep into production, especially with an actor who gets into any kind of trouble, it becomes difficult to replace them or reduce their screen time hence affecting the overall production. In the case of Lilo & Stitch, the studio seems to have taken preliminary steps to avoid any future complications.
Lilo & Stich live-action will be helmed by Dean Fleischer Camp, the filmmaker behind this year’s Oscar nominee Marcel the Shell With Shoes On. Rounding off the star cast are Zach Galifianakis as Jumba, Billy Magnussen as Pleakley, and Courtney B. Vance as Cobra Bubbles with production underway in Hawaii.
No release date has been set for Disney+ release. Watch out for this space for further developments.