Looking at Paul Thomas Anderson‘s IMDB page, you might think that he wouldn’t write or direct anything like Pinocchio. But there are new reports saying that the filmmaker is set to write, with the possibility of also directing, an adaptation of the title character that Robert Downey Jr. has been attached to since 2012.
This particular Pinocchio isn’t related to the string of live-action adaptations of classics that Disney will be releasing in the upcoming years, though the film would still follow the plot of a wooden puppet who comes to life with dreams of becoming a real boy. More on this story below.
THR says Anderson and Downey Jr. have been looking forward to working with each other for quite some time, and came close to doing so when Anderson was developing Inherent Vice. However, Downey Jr. had to step away from the film due to his obligations to Avengers: Age of Ultron, and The Master star Joaquin Phoenix had to step in to take the actor’s place.
The Giver writer Michael Mitnick penned the latest draft of Pinocchio, with Bryan Fuller and Jane Goldman writing previous drafts of the story that is based on a novel by Carlo Collodi.
Downey Jr. will play Geppetto, the woodcarver and creator/father of Pinocchio. It was previously reported that the actor would also play Pinocchio, but the THR report makes no mention of it.
Though most of us remember seeing Pinocchio as a Disney animated movie, this one won’t be released by Disney; instead the film will be distributed by Warner Bros. The studio is also releasing their own version of The Jungle Book which is being helmed by Andy Serkis, who is making his directorial debut. That film features the talents of Benedict Cumberbatch, Christian Bale, and Cate Blanchett.
Other fairy tale live-action adaptations that will be released by studios other than Disney include The Little Mermaid by Universal. The film experienced a set back when Sofia Coppola parted ways with the studio due to creative differences. Universal will also be releasing a sequel to Snow White and The Huntsman focusing more on Chris Hemsworth’s Huntsman character, which will not see the return of Kristen Stewart as Snow White.
As for Disney, they will be releasing Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson, Luke Evans, and Dan Stevens; Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book starring Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken, and Lupita Nyong’o; Tim Burton’s Dumbo; David Lowery’s Pete’s Dragon starring Bryce Dallas Howard and Michael C. Hall. The studio will also be working on live-action adaptations of Mulan and Winnie the Pooh.
It’s no surprise that other studios are following the recent trend considering the kinds of profits Disney is generating thanks in part to making live-action adaptations of their long line of animated fairy tale classics.
As for Anderson, I like the idea of him going outside of his wheelhouse to do something that is light and not heavy-handed. Just because it seems like a project that is aimed towards a younger demographic doesn’t mean the tone will be, and I can’t imagine he wouldn’t give the film his own interpretation when penning the script.