$1 billion later, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland has finally inspired something good in the world: a paycheck for Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller. The impetus behind the cash — to pen a live-action version of Pinocchio — is a bit dodgy. But any creative market that doesn’t keep Fuller regularly employed is fundamentally broken.
Producer Dan Jinks (Milk) told Variety that Burton’s Wonderland inspired him to whip up a new take on the Pinocchio story for Warner Bros., saying “I think we’ve found a fresh approach that’s going to be very entertaining.” Hit the jump for a refresher on the tale and it’s history on film.
The character first appeared in the 1883 Carlo Collidi children’s book The Adventures of Pinocchio. Here’s a synopsis:
The story of the wooden puppet who learns goodness and becomes a real boy is famous the world over, and has been familiar in English for over a century. From the moment Joseph the carpenter carves a puppet that can walk and talk, this wildly inventive fantasy takes Pinocchio through countless adventures, in the course of which his nose grows whenever he tells a lie, he is turned into a donkey, and is swallowed by a dogfish, before he gains real happiness.
There have been a slew of film adaptations over the last century. A few of the more notable attempts:
- The first and most famous is the 1940 Disney classic, the second animated feature from Walt Disney Studios.
- A 1957 TV musical starring Mickey Rooney; this appears to have aired exactly once on NBC, never repeated or released on home video
- NBC went back to the well for another musical adaptation, which aired in 1968 as part of the Hallmark Hall of Fame series
- Francis Ford Coppola tried to get a Pinocchio film going at Warner Bros. in the early 1990s, to no avail
- The 1996 horror film Pinocchio’s Revenge, about “an evil wooden puppet that may have caused a man to kill his son”
- Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful) wrote, directed, and starred in his own live-action adaptation in 2002; it was critcally lacerated, with not a single positive review among the 53 recorded by Rotten Tomatoes
So yeah, the odds aren’t exactly in the favor of quality. But Fuller is a fantastic choice — the more I think about it, his twisted sense of fantasy is perfect for the material. After Wonderfalls, he has plenty of experience giving voice to inanimate objects.
But I’m a Fuller fanboy. What’s your gut feeling on the prospect of a live-action (and perhaps more adult) version of Pinocchio?