Favreau Talks “Lion King” Status, VR Assistance

Having used some of the tech on this year’s “The Jungle Book,” filmmaker Jon Favreau has confirmed that he’ll be employing a lot more virtual reality technology in the making of Disney’s live-action version of the 1994 animated classic “The Lion King”.

VFX supervisor Robert Legato tells Cinema Blend that “The Lion King” will come before the ‘Jungle’ sequel, and in fact it’s further along than you might think:

“It’s the very next one [we’re doing]. We’ve already started the plans, and all of the various things, and the updates to the various ways that we filmed The Jungle Book, to add to and extend the art form a little bit more in Lion King, which is going to be another live-action-looking movie.”

Faverau meanwhile tells Coming Soon that both VR and gaming engines used to design video games have come in handy, even for traditional live-action theatrical features, in terms of things like shot design and setting up virtual environments:

“The ability to actually design an environment virtually, and then to walk around in it with your crew, doing a scout. 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.

There’s a lot of really light files, again, the processing is getting better and the coding is very specific to game engines now, so that 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.

Finally, when you deliver it to the point where you’re actually turning it over, and rendering the stuff in a very expensive, time-consuming way, you’ve already made all your creative decisions using technologies that are more geared towards gaming. If you want to look at things in real time, especially in 3D, the game engines offer you a lot of opportunities to build upon that engine.”

Disney has yet to set a release date for “The Lion King” though has staked out numerous dates for projects over the next few years – allowing them to easily slot it in whenever they feel like it’s ready.