Disney’s live-action Pinocchio remake might be a reunion for Robert Zemeckis and Tom Hanks. Zemeckis is attached to helm the film and now a report states that Hanks is being courted to play old Italian puppet-maker Geppetto. This isn’t the first time Hanks’ name has been floated for the part – when the project was first announced, Paddington director Paul King was set to helm and Hanks was being considered for the Geppetto role then as well.
Deadline says that Disney wants to get Tom Hanks and Robert Zemeckis together again for Pinocchio. Zemeckis directed Hanks in Forrest Gump and Castaway, and if he comes on board the live-action Pinocchio, he’ll play Geppetto, the very lonely old man who decides to make himself a small wooden boy. Negotiations are still in the early stages, but Hanks reportedly liked the script and “reached out to Zemeckis to let him know he wants to do the film.”
When Disney first announced their plans for a live-action Pinocchio, Paul King, director of Paddington, was set to direct – and Hanks was mentioned as a possibility for the Geppetto part then, too. King is no longer involved – Zemeckis signed on to direct in January 2020 – but it’s clear that Disney really wants Hanks to be in the movie. At one point there was a plan to release the live-action Pinocchio directly to Disney+, but the Zemeckis/Hanks reunion all but guarantees Disney will try to go theatrical with this thing – assuming theaters are ever able to open again, that is.
Released in 1940, Disney’s Pinocchio may be heralded as a classic today, and actually was the first animated movie to win an Academy Award (for music), the film was a bomb when it opened, primarily due to World War II. The film was then re-released in 1945 and ended up finally turning a profit. Based on The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, the film followed puppet Pinocchio and his wish to become a real boy. Along the way, he’s guided by Jiminy Cricket.
The story has been adapted to the screen several times since, including a very weird 2002 version where a 50-year-old Roberto Benigni played the puppet boy. Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson are also co-directing a stop-motion version of the story for Netflix featuring the voice of Ewan McGregor. That take on the tale is expected to arrive in 2021.
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