Filmmaker Jon Favreau, fresh off 2016’s The Jungle Book, is already deep in development for a live-action remake of Disney’s 1994 animated classic The Lion King. But, much like The Jungle Book’s live-action adaptation, it’s actually hardly live-action at all. It’s primarily being expertly rendered from behind a computer screen.
VR enables filmmakers to walk around digitally created scenes
Yet in a conversation with Coming Soon, Favreau spoke of how he’s tackling bringing The Lion King to a live-action setting. It’s in a more involved way than with The Jungle Book’s Mowgli-centered special effects—he’s implementing VR tech as a way to make things perfect, as a meticulous director might personally inspect everything within a scene before decisively calling action.
“[We’re now] able to scout—and some of this we were doing with ‘Jungle Book’ as well—but [we have] the ability to actually design an environment virtually, and then to walk around in it with your crew,” he explained. “And to be able set shots and to be able to choreograph movement, and move set pieces around before you do the heavy versions of it. Because […] the files remain light, so you can experience them in real time, so you can move assets around in real time, and start to rough in what you want to do as a filmmaker.”
Favreau’s The Jungle Book was widely praised for its visual effects. Part of that was because of its uncanny valley essence, the other was seeing the action revolve around a real-life boy. In using VR as a filmmaking tool, Favreau and others have the ability to enter a scene they wouldn’t be able to otherwise from behind a computer screen, and walk around the environment before that final version goes through. From the first-person perspective, not just behind that screen, it’s easier to see all of something’s blemishes and beauty, to see both what works and what doesn’t work from a close up view—and fix it.
Favreau is currently working on The Lion King and afterwards, The Jungle Book 2.