It looks like “Black Beauty” will ride again, as Disney+ announced today that a contemporary adaptation of Anna Sewell’s classic 19th century novel of the same name is set to premiere on the streaming service later this year. Black Beauty (this time round voiced by Oscar winner Kate Winslet) is a wild mustang born free in the American west. When she is captured and taken away from family, her story intertwines with that of 17-year old Jo Green (here played by Mackenzie Foy, last seen destroying the space time continuum in “Interstellar“), who is similarly grieving over the loss of her parents. The two slowly develop a bond that is built on love, respect and mutual healing.
The film has been adapted before, in a 1994 film from director Caroline Thompson, which instead had Alan Cumming narrating as the voice of the horse. The 2020 update, set to be released on Disney+, features a veritable stable of talent, with Winslet (“The Reader”) as the voice of “Black Beauty” and also starring Foy (“Interstellar”) as Jo Green; Iain Glen (“Game of Thrones”) as John Manly; and Claire Forlani (“Meet Joe Black”) as Mrs. Winthorp. It’s already shaping to be a rather prestigious addition to the studio’s canon of live-action talking animals.
The film is directed by Ashley Avis (“Adolescence”) who also wrote the screenplay. JB Pictures’ Jeremy Bolt (“Polar,” “Monster Hunter”) and Robert Kulzer (“Polar”) from Constantin Film are producers and Martin Moszkowicz, Edward Winters and Jon Brown are executive producers. Dylan Tarason is a co-producer, and Moonlighting Films president Genevieve Hofmeyr (“Mad Max: Fury Road”) is the South African producer. “Black Beauty” is produced by Constantin Film and JB Pictures. No release date has been set for the film, but it is expected to be released on the Disney+ streaming service later this year.