How to Turn a Disney Cartoon Into Avant-Garde Theater

Julie Taymor tells former Disney CEO Michael Eisner why she agreed to take on The Lion King.

lion-king.jpgEd Yourdon/Flickr

Notes from the Aspen Ideas Festival -- See full coverage

A Disney movie might not seem like the best inspiration for an experimental stage production. In fact, when Julie Taymor was invited to intepret The Lion King for Broadway, she had her doubts. At the time, she was in Japan putting on the Stravinsky opera Oedipus Rex. As she says wryly in this conversation with former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, "Disney's aesthetic and my aesthetic are not the same."

What finally moved her to accept, she says, was the challenge of reimagining the Disney story in a stripped-down form. She wanted to figure out how to create a stampede, or a sunset, on a stage. And she made the bold decision that instead of hiding the puppeteers behind a curtain, she would "expose the magic -- expose the strings, the rods and the mechanics -- so the telling of the story would be as spiritually moving as emotionally moving as the story itself." Here, she talks about that project, and her admiration for "the low-tech beauty of theater."

Presented by

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Videos

Why Is Google Making Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

More in Entertainment

Just In