One doesn’t often associate Disney with gritty. Traumatizing, sure (killing Bambi’s mother and Old Yeller, Rick Moranis justabout eating his own children in Honey, I Shrunk The Kids… need we go on?) but rarely defiant and brazen.
So when it was announced that Disney picked up Ice Cube’s Chrome and Paint, a movie that, The Hollywood Reporter explained, was supposed to be about “South Central L.A., as a hardcore R-rated movie where young people die in drive-bys,” the proverbial record came to a screeching halt. Was it possible that the folks over at Disney were going to try to head in a new direction? Was Ice Cube, who will produce, co-write and star the film – which is based off a line from a song in his 2006 album Laugh Now, Cry Later – going to infuse some hip-hop into a Randy Newman-friendly world?
While Cube has certainly made the foray into lighter fare over the past few years (for every Boyz n the Hood and Three Kings, a little Are We There Yet? must fall), Disney seems to be sticking to their same format. The new formula for the movie will reportedly revolve around a fatherless teen (trauma!) who begins to rebuild a car that belonged to his dad. Ice Cube will play a friend of the father who helps out and, along the way, the two begin to heal from the loss. (Disney could not be reached for comment regarding the project.)
While the Pirates of the Caribbean series have always toyed with the line, this would have marked the first actual R-rated project for Disney. But, is even necessary for Disney to change what has worked for them for so many years? Sure, it could have made them “edgier” to make Chrome and Paint as it was originally intended, but unlike the car in the movie, if it ain’t broke…
Under the assumption we don’t actually see the kid’s dad die in the film, Disney has been pretty good in years past with inspirational live-action flicks. Movies like The Rookie and Invincible had enough to keep kids interested, all while their accompanying parent or guardian maintained that it was just something in their eye. While it would have been interesting – and jarring, to say the least – to see the Disney name attached to something so very un-Disney, here’s to hoping the project, under its new direction, doesn’t stall out. After all, we need to save some automobile puns for Cars 2.
What do you think of this news, PopWatchers? Do you wish Disney had gone with Chrome and Paint’s original route, or are you glad they aren’t changing their M.O.?