Zach Galifianakis has been cast in Disney’s live-action “Lilo & Stitch” feature, TheWrap has confirmed. We’ve heard he will be playing Pleakley, the alien character originally voiced by Kevin McDonald and animated by Ruben A. Aquino.
Dean Fleischer Camp, the Oscar-nominated director of last year’s “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” will be directing the new adaptation. Originally, Jon M. Chu was on board to direct but exited in 2020; that version of the movie had a script by Mike Van Waes. It’s unclear if that version of the screenplay will be utilized for this version. Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich, who produced the live-action “Aladdin” for Disney (which grossed more than $1 billion worldwide), are aboard as producers.
The original film, released in 2002, was written and directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois. The film followed an extraterrestrial experiment (voiced by Sanders) who escapes his cosmic prison and crash lands in Hawaii where he’s adopted as a family pet by the very accepting Lilo (Daveigh Chase) and her older sister Nani (Tia Carrere). Of course, there are some aliens after the rascally alien, who Lilo dubs Stitch, including a pair of aliens, Pleakley and Jumba (David Ogden Stiers), as well as a more earthbound agent named Cobra Bubbles (Ving Rhames).
While the original film was made under the radar at Disney’s now-closed Florida animation outpost and was something of a sleeper hit (making $273 million on a budget of $80 million), in the years since the character has taken on a life of his own. There have been several animated television spin-offs, direct-to-video sequel films and even an entirely separate, Japanese animated series, not to mention several theme park attractions. Perhaps most crucially, Stitch remains one of the best-selling characters in terms of merchandise sold in the parks and on the shopDisney website.
A live-action redo was only a matter of time. But with a filmmaker as talented as Camp and talent like Galifianakis (who is very much in the Disney orbit, having co-starred in “A Wrinkle in Time,” and lent his voice to “Ron’s Gone Wrong” and “The Bob’s Burgers Movie”), “Lilo & Stitch” sounds like it could be one of the more exciting live-action translations of an animated favorite.
The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.