Michael Buckner/Variety

Talk about meta. Walt Disney (the studio) is developing a movie about Walt Disney (the person) and his journey to build Disneyland (the California theme park). It will premiere on Disney Plus (the streaming service).

David Gordon Green (“Halloween Kills”) is directing the yet-to-be-titled film . Evan Spiliotopoulos, whose credits include Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” and “Snow White and the Huntsmen,” is writing the screenplay.

Dubbed “The Happiest Place on Earth,” Disneyland opened during the summer of 1955 in Anaheim. Though Disney parks were later built in Florida, Paris and other parts of the world, the California original is Disney’s only theme park constructed under the direct supervision of the man whose name inspired the entertainment destination.

Disney’s theme parks have been a rich source of material for the studio, with “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Haunted Mansion” and “The Jungle Cruise” among the attractions that inspired major motion pictures. Not every theme park attraction has spun off into cinematic gold. (“Tomorrowland” starring George Clooney, we’re looking at you.) Inversely, some of Disney’s most popular film franchises have paved way to themed areas like Star Wars’ Galaxy’s Edge and Marvel’s Avengers Campus.

The upcoming movie isn’t Disney’s first attempt to capture the triumphs and tribulations of Walt Disney. In 2013, the studio hired Tom Hanks to portray its founder in “Saving Mr. Banks,” a biographical drama about the film producer and entrepreneur’s pursuit to land rights to Mary Poppins.

Cavalry Media is producing the film. Dana Brunetti and Matt DelPiano at Cavalry Media will serve as producers with Jason Reed. Jessica Matthews will serve as executive producer. Allison Erlikhman will oversee for Disney Studios.

Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.

Written by Rebecca Rubin for Variety


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