Disney Has A Radically Different Live-Action Adaptation Of One Thousand And One Nights In The Works

The folks at the House of Mouse love to mine myths and folk tales for their movies, and it's honestly amazing that it's taken them this long to adapt something else from the Arabic collection of stories, "One Thousand and One Nights." According to Deadline, Disney is making a live-action "fantasy and sci-fi-infused" movie inspired by the folk tale collection, which will be written and executive produced by Arash Amel. Amel recently wrote the based-on-a-true-story Disney+ movie "Rise," about a trio of brothers who became basketball champions, which was praised by audiences and critics alike. 

According to Deadline's sources, the new movie will not be tied to any current Disney properties, even though "Aladdin" comes from "Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp," one of the stories collected in the "One Thousand and One Nights." Other famous stories from the collection include "The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor" and "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," but this will apparently be something entirely new for Disney. 

One of the best framing devices in fiction

One possible way to approach "One Thousand and One Nights" would be to make it an anthology film, with two or three stories from the sprawling collection of tales all tied together by the framing device, taken straight from the source. In "One Thousand and One Nights," a bored Sultan marries a new woman each day and kills her the following morning. He ends up marrying the legendary storyteller Scheherazade, who spends one thousand and one nights telling the sultan incredible stories, making sure to end each morning with a cliffhanger so he keeps her alive to hear the rest of the tale. Honestly, Disney could make a movie out of just the Scheherazade part of the story, following her as she tries to survive and come up with new stories each night.

However they decide to adapt this ancient collection of tales, compiled from folk stories throughout the Middle East, India, and Northeast Africa, it will be a nice return to Disney's long history of turning literature into a part of the pop culture conversation. Some of Disney's greatest successes have been adaptations of much older stories, and they're not even always obvious; just look at "The Lion King," which is based on Shakespeare's "Hamlet." If this new movie gets even one person to pick up a copy of "One Thousand and One Nights" and dig in, it's a success in my book. Now if we can just get the studio to adapt "The Epic of Gilgamesh"...