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Fresh off charming audiences with his debut feature—recent A24 release Marcel The Shell With Shoes On—Dean Fleischer Camp has already lined up his next big project: A live-action remake of Lilo & Stitch from Disney, which has now somehow gotten all the way up to 2002 in its ongoing efforts to cannibalize its vaunted animated history for live-action audiences.
The hire makes a lot of sense, at least: Both Lilo & Stitch and Marcel The Shell take heavily absurdist elements (a tiny shell with access to footwear in one case, a highly destructive alien experiment in the other) and then translate them into surprisingly affecting stories of family connection. We’d be lying, though, if we said we weren’t dreading the thought of seeing Lilo & Stitch—a colorful, fast-moving, and extremely energetic film, even 20 years on—get rendered down to the basic sludge that makes up most of Disney’s numerous live-action remakes in recent years.
Camp first came to prominence via the web versions of Marcel, which he co-created with his ex-wife Jenny Slate, who co-wrote and starred in the film. (Camp also appeared, as himself, as the filmmaker who begins documenting Marcel’s adorably poignant musings.) The film, his first, is already a critical hit, as it’s poised to open into a wider market for what’s expected to be “good for A24" box office numbers.
The original Lilo & Stitch was a hit for Disney itself when it came out in the early 2000s—especially in comparison to the rest of the films (Treasure Planet, Atlantis, etc.) that came out during a period typically characterized as a serious slump for Walt Disney Feature Animation. The film was directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, who also wrote the script (and, in Sanders case, voiced Stitch). Daveigh Chase (who starred, that same year, as the terrifying murder ghost from The Ring) starred alongside Tia Carrera as rambunctious Lilo and her responsible, over-worked sister Nani. No word yet on who, besides Camp, will be either in front of or behind the camera for the remake.