Oscar winner Robert Zemeckis is in early talks to direct Disney’s live-action Pinocchio movie, Collider has confirmed.
Paul King (Paddington) was originally set to direct, though he departed the project early this year, as did producer David Heyman. Chris Weitz co-wrote the most recent draft of the script with King and Simon Farnaby, and he’s also producing alongside Andrew Miano under their Depth of Field banner.
Zemeckis hasn’t closed a deal yet but he has already begun formulating ideas for the role of Gepetto. Interestingly enough, Tom Hanks had been in talks to play Gepetto, though he left the project shortly after King. I wonder if Zemeckis, who won an Oscar for directing Hanks in Forrest Gump, could convince the actor to return, since he was perfect for the part. Zemeckis also directed Hanks in Cast Away, and produced the actor’s upcoming sci-fi movie Bios, so their relationship is still going strong.
The original animated Pinocchio follows a living puppet who aims to prove himself worthy of becoming a real boy. It’s one of several Disney classics that the studio is planning to live-action remakes of, including The Sword in the Stone and Bambi, which would arrive on the heels of this year’s remakes of Aladdin and The Lion King.
Zemeckis is currently in post-production on the Warner Bros. movie The Witches starring Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Chris Rock and Stanley Tucci. Interestingly enough, Guillermo del Toro is a producer on The Witches, and he’s developing his own Pinocchio movie over at Netflix, though I believe it’s a stop-animation project as opposed to live-action. Still, it should make for a fun topic of conversation during the Witches press tour.
Zemeckis has been tackling more four-quadrant films of late following the weak box office performance of Allied and Welcome to Marwen. The Back to the Future filmmaker is represented by WME, and his Pinocchio talks were first reported by Variety.