After recently announcing the live-action Peter Pan spin-off Tink starring Reese Witherspoon, Disney thought it might go through their rolodex of other side-characters they can build a live-action feature out of and, according to The Hollywood Reporter, that character will be the Slavic black god Chernobog, better known as the iconic winged devil from the “Night on Bald Mountain” segment of 1940’s Fantasia.
Partially modeled after Dracula actor Bela Lugosi, Chernobog featured in symphonic anthology film Fantasia‘s grand finale sequence based around composer Modest Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain,” in which the giant demonic figure awakens at the stroke of midnight, spreading evil spirits throughout the land until they are banished by a bright dawn ushered in by Franz Schubert’s Ave Maria. Of all of Walt Disney’s creations, Chernobog is perhaps the most menacing and went on to inspire many a heavy metal album cover as well as Darkness in Ridley Scott’s Legend.
Dark fantasy specialists Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (Dracula Untold, The Last Witch Hunter, Gods of Egypt) will write the script and produce the live-action Night on Bald Mountain, which is in early development at the studio with no director currently attached.
Disney has had quite a lot of success lately with live-action versions of some of its animated classics like Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (a quasi-sequel to the 1951 animated feature) and Robert Stromberg’s Maleficent (a retelling of 1959’s Sleeping Beauty). On the way soon are Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book (arriving April 15, 2016), Beauty and the Beast (March 17, 2017) and, currently without a release date, Tim Burton’s Dumbo, as well as Mulan and Winnie the Pooh. There’s also the Alice in Wonderland sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, that is being directed by The Muppets‘ James Bobin and is set to arrive May 27, 2016.