Robert Zemeckis is in early talks to direct Disney’s live-action remake of their animated classic “Pinocchio,” an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.
“Paddington” director Paul King was originally circling the project but left earlier this year. Chris Weitz wrote the most recent draft of the script, and he’s also producing with Andrew Miano. The film’s original producer, David Heyman, is also no longer involved.
In November 2018, Tom Hanks was in early talks to star but ultimately passed to star as Geppetto, the puppet maker and Pinocchio’s father, but Zemeckis will lead his own search for a cast.
The “Back to the Future” and “Forrest Gump” director is currently at work on another remake, “The Witches” for Warner Bros. The film stars Anne Hathaway and is based on a Roald Dahl novel and a 1990 film starring Angelica Huston.
Disney’s animated “Pinocchio” from 1940 was the story of a puppet that comes to life, whose nose grows every time he lies and who works to become a real boy along with the help of his conscience, Jiminy Cricket.
Disney has aggressively been casting for its live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid,” and the studio this year has had massive box office success on the heels of three different remakes, “Aladdin,” “The Lion King” and “Dumbo,” the first two of which both surpassed $1 billion at the global box office.
Zemeckis’s most recent film was “Welcome to Marwen,” which starred Steve Carell. The film was a fictionalized version of the documentary “Marwencol.” With the exception of “The Witches” upcoming, his last foray into children’s films was the animated version of “A Christmas Carol” starring a motion-captured performance by Jim Carrey.
Disney’s film is one of several versions of the classic “Pinocchio” fable currently in the works, including a far darker version set up at Netflix that’s a passion project for director Guillermo del Toro.
News of Zemeckis’s involvement was first reported by Variety.