“Disney Exec: It’s Time We Put Our Talented Former Child Actors to Work Really Leveraging Our Vast Intellectual Property,” by Jeff King

Apr 3rd, 2024 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Fellow members of the Walt Disney Studios creative team, thank you for the chance to make this pitch to you. Sorry I’m late. I stopped by the Percy Jackson set on the way in and sort of lost my mind. I got them all to autograph my tie, though, so it was worth it.

As you’ve seen, our stock has been pretty up and down lately. Box office takes are floundering. Audiences are staying home and watching Netflix instead. It’s time to turn this ship around. Fortunately, we already have the two resources that we need to do just that: IP and talent.

Over the past few years, and especially since our acquisition of 20th Century Fox, our back catalog has exploded to include some of the biggest classics of all time: I’m talking award-winning, critically acclaimed, bona-fide films!

More than that, we’ve got long-term contracts with some of the gosh-darn greatest talents to have ever graced the smaller silver or LED screen: our roster of brilliant former child actors. As I have said in every single meeting since I joined this board, these people need to be given wings to soar!

So, I say it’s time to bring these two assets together. We’ve been doing live-action remakes of our animated films like crazy – who says we can’t remake these other movies? The material is proven, the audience is ripe for it, and the salaries will cost basically nothing! It’s a win-win-lose (for them) situation – and two-out-of-three ain’t bad! Let me walk you through what I’m envisioning:

  • The Grapes of Wrath: Released nearly 85 years ago, John Ford’s adaptation of Steinbeck’s bleak Depression-era novel is definitely due for a facelift! Who better to bring some much-needed charm, toothy smiles, and magical sense of family than the Wizards of Waverly Place? Selena Gomez, who will produce and star as Rose of Sharon (“Rosasharn”) Joad, is currently recording what I’m sure will be a highly danceable cover of R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” for the soundtrack. Am I dancing now? Yes, I am.

  • The French Connection: Oh snap – talk about a car chase! In this modern remake, the incomparable Raven-Symoné and Anneliese van der Pol will play two hardened New York City detectives, Jenny “Popeye” Doyle and Buffy “Cloudy” Russo, on the hunt for a hitman, to be played by famous French actor, Omar Sy, who has not appeared in any Disney Channel shows, but did voice a sheep in the French dub of Disney’s Brother Bear, which I’ve seen probably four hundred times.

  • All That Jazz: Hot off his starring role in the successful Disney Zombies musical trilogy, Milo Manheim is lined up to feature in this heartbreaking story of the drug-addled, womanizing choreographer, Joe Gideon, originally played by the guy from Jaws and seaQuest DSV. Watch for a nice hat-tip to Manheim’s past work playing a corpse in the final scene!

  • The Fly: What if David Cronenberg’s bizarre body-horror film starring Jeff Goldblum as a man who is turning into a human-sized insect was reimagined as a family-friendly animated film? To make this never-before-uttered concept a reality, we will assemble the same team that brought you the massively successful Kim Possible series, with Will Friedle, a.k.a. Ron Stoppable, voicing the eponymous fly and Christy Carlson Romano, the voice of Kim Possible, filling Geena Davis’s Mensa-certified shoes.

  • Wall Street: It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Michael Douglas as the slimy stockbroker, Gordon Gekko, but I’m hoping you’ll try with Ben Savage of Boy Meets World and Girl Meets World And here’s an Easter Egg: we’re planning to film this movie here, live on location in The Walt Disney Company’s corporate offices.

  • The Thin Red Line: The Disneyfied update to Terrence Malick’s lyrical meditation on war and nature will be in very good hands with its lead role going to rising star Jacob Bertrand, currently known for his work as Hawk in Netflix’s Cobra Kai, but who got his start as the lovable Kirby Buckets, a daydreaming animation nerd. (Lots of daydreaming in Malick’s version too!) I’m told Adrien Brody has already filmed his scenes for this remake, and we’re all crossing our fingers hard for him.

  • Cold Mountain: Hilary Duff is booked to star alongside Shia LaBoeuf in this heartwarming… sorry, soul-sucking nightmare about the American Civil War. Shia has been on board for years.

  • Hannah Montana: The Movie: Two words: Miley’s back. Same cast, same script, almost same everything, but directed by Werner Herzog.

Ok, I sort of had expected a standing ovation at this point, but I see you’re looking for more. You’re in luck: if the legal teams who wrangled the IP coordination for Rescue Rangers and Spider-Man can make the right kind of deal, here are a few more non-Disney remakes I hope we can look forward to soon:

  • The Godfather: For this deeply reverent adaptation of Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece, we’re going to get the cast from Suite Life of Zack & Cody back together, all grown up and broody. With Cole and Dylan Sprouse as Michael and Fredo Corleone, respectively, and the guy who played the janitor on the show, beloved voice and comedy actor, Brian Stepanek, in the role originated by Marlon Brando.

  • Deliverance: The Jonas Brothers are perfect for what we’re envisioning to be a shot-for-shot remake of John Boorman’s horrific meditation on masculinity and the natural world. Only instead of two dueling banjos, there will be three.

  • Scarface: Gender-swapping worked well with Ocean’s 8; why not this tale of violence and cocaine in the 1980s? I’ve already signed Ashley Tisdale to play drug lord Toni Montana, with her costar from High School Musical, Lucas Grabeel, lending his voice talents as Toni’s little friend.

I am seeing security approaching. I don’t think that we’ll be needing that for any of the actors I’ve proposed – maybe after they’ve made it big, haha!

Oh. They’ve come to escort me out. Can we at least swing by the Percy Jackson set on the way? I forgot to get Lin-Manuel Miranda’s signature.


Jeff King is a writer who lives in Canada with his family. His writing has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, JAKE, Jane Austen’s Wastepaper Basket, and elsewhere. Jeff holds a PhD in English Lit and asks that his children address him as Dr. Dad. They don’t.

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