American ballerina Misty Copeland is set to join the cast of Disney’s upcoming live-action fairy tale, “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.”

Copeland is “Thrilled” to Work with Disney

Copeland had announced being cast in the film on her Instagram account, where she wrote that she was “thrilled to be a part of this amazing project with Disney.”

Copeland had made a name for herself after she became the first African American woman to serve as principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre. After the casting with Disney, this would be her second official film appearance, after a 2015 documentary based around her life, titled, "A Ballerina's Tale," was released. Fittingly enough, throughout her career, Copeland has been in various stage versions of "The Nutcracker" ballet, as seen below:

The project has been announced since March and Lasse Hallström is set to serve as a director. Mark Gordon will serve as a producer and Lindy Goldstein will serve as an executive producer.

Sam Dickerman and Allison Erlikhman will also both serve as the project's overseers.

The Nutcracker over the years

While the storyline was ultimately popularized by the Tchaikovsky ballet, the story of the Nutcracker takes root in a 1816 E. T. A. Hoffmann short story called “Nussknacker und Mausekönig,” meaning “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.” In the story, a girl named Marie (renamed Clara in Tchaikovsky’s retelling) is given a toy nutcracker by her godfather for a Christmas present; she later learns he is her godfather’s nephew under the spell of the villainous Mouse Queen and later helps him fight her son, the titular seven-headed Mouse King.

It is unclear what changes Disney plans to employ with adapting the storyline to the new film, although a recent press release mentions Hoffman by name, suggesting an awareness of the story’s literary origins. There have been other film adaptations of the story over the years, notably 2009's "The Nutcracker in 3D," which retold the story as an allegory for the Holocaust. This isn’t Disney’s first crack at the story.

Top Videos of the Day

Ironically enough a Mickey Mouse Christmas special, which can be seen below, retold the story. Due to casting Mickey and Minnie, who are mice, as the nutcracker and the heroine, the villain was changed to a Rat King.