Disney is eyeing Oscar-winning filmmaker Sam Mendes to direct their upcoming live-action adaptation of the 1940 animated classic, Pinocchio. Per Deadline, the studio is in early talks with the American Beauty and Skyfall director for the project, though additional details are scarce. Last we heard, Peter Hedges (Pieces of April, Dan in Real Life) was penning a script loosely based on the original story.
Recently, Mendes was in talks to a to direct a live-action adaptation of Roald Dahl‘s James and the Giant Peach for Disney. There’s no update on the status of that project and as the studio has demonstrated with Jon Favreau, they don’t have any problem developing two projects with the same director (however, Favreau has deep roots at Disney and Mendes hasn’t worked in-house before). It’s also possible the conversation just evolved. Both films certainly provide plenty of opportunities to explore aesthetic and technology.
Mendes is also attached to an adaptation of the graphic novel My Favorite Thing is Monsters at Sony, as well as an adaptation of the best-selling novel Beautiful Ruins for Fox 2000. He was developing The Voyeur’s Motel with Dreamworks and Stephen Speilberg but that project reportedly fizzled due to an issue with the rights. He is also producing the Jane Austen picture Lost in Austen for Sony.
Disney’s live-action spin on Pinocchio is one of a few reinventions of Carlo Collodi’s classic children’s novel that are in development. Guillermo Del Toro has been hard at work on a stop-motion incarnation for years and recently recruited Over the Garden Wall filmmaker Patrick McHale to co-write a new draft of the script. Del Toro has described his concept as a spin on the Frankenstein myth. Over at Warner Bros., Susan Downey and Robert Downey Jr. are working on a version that would star RDJ as Gepetto, and had Paul Thomas Anderson attached to direct for a while.
Meanwhile, at Disney you can expect a much more classic approach as the studio is sliding into a streak of home runs with their live-action remakes. The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast were both enormous successes for Disney’s live-action wing, and they’ve got an enormous lineup of other adaptations on the docket including Niki Caro‘s Mulan, Tim Burton‘s Dumbo and Guy Ritchie‘s Aladdin, among many, many others.