Lilo & Stitch Star Chris Sanders Returning for Disney Remake – The Hollywood Reporter

Chris Sanders is in final negotiations to voice the character of Stitch in Disney’s live-action Lilo & Stitch, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Tia Carrere, who originally voiced Nani in the first film, will also play the newly created Mrs. Kekoa, while Amy Hill will star as a new character named Tūtū.

Sanders, who wrote and directed the original feature alongside Dean DeBlois, voiced the creature, which he also created, in the 2002 Lilo & Stitch, as well as Lilo & Stitch: The Series (2003-06). Sanders has been rumored to return as Stitch for years, but in a 2022 interview with SYFY Wire, he said he hadn’t been officially approached by the studio.

Newcomer Maia Kealoha is playing Lilo, while Sydney Elizebeth Agudong is playing Nani. Kahiau Machado was cast as David Kawena last week, but has since been recast with Kaipot Dudoit. During Disney’s vetting process, previous posts in which Machado used racial slurs were uncovered on social media. Machado’s casting was not officially confirmed by Disney.

Zach Galifianakis joined the cast in February as Jumba, with Billy Magnussen as Pleakley and Courtney B. Vance as Cobra Bubbles rounding out the cast.

Dean Fleischer Camp, the filmmaker behind indie darling and best animated feature Oscar nominee Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, is directing the remake that is intended to be a major release on Disney+. Production is officially underway in Hawaii.

The Hawaii-centric story tells of the bond formed between a lonely human girl named Lilo and a dog-like alien named Stitch, who was genetically engineered to be a force of destruction. With nosy social workers and pursuing aliens banging on the door, the two bond over a shared sense of family and win the day.

Chris Kekaniokalani Bright wrote the script for the adaptation. Mike Van Waes wrote the original screenplay.

Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich of Rideback are producing. Rideback’s Ryan Halprin is executive producing alongside Tom Peitzman. The creative team is composed of production designer Todd Cherniawsky (Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Trek: Picard); director of photography Nigel Bluck (The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent) and second unit DP (Lord of the Rings trilogy, Deadpool); visual effects supervisor Craig Hammack (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Black Panther, Tomorrowland); and costume designer Wendy Chuck (About Schmidt, Nebraska and The Descendants). 

The original film was released in 2002 and became a cult success, grossing over $273 million worldwide based on an $80 million budget. It was also nominated for best animated feature at the 75th Academy Awards.

Sanders is represented by WME and Lichter Grossman.

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