Disney’s chief financial officer Christine M McCarthy has revealed that the live-action Pinocchio will be premiering exclusively on Disney Plus between July and September of 2022 – according to a report on Collider.
The live-action Pinocchio has been in the works since 2015, but has gone through several directors and rewrites. Tom Hanks was attached early on, left and rejoined the project. He is now confirmed to play Geppetto.
Robert Zemeckis, the Oscar-winning director of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, the Back to the Future trilogy, Forrest Gump and Cast Away is the director and co-writer of Pinocchio. His co-writers are Chris Weitz (Cinderella, Rogue One) and Simon Farnaby (Paddington 2). Zemeckis also directed The Witches adaptation which came out in 2020, starring Anne Hathaway as the Grand High Witch.
The cast is rounded out by Benjamin Evan Ainsworth as Pinocchio, Cynthia Erivo as the Blue Fairy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jiminy Cricket, Luke Evans as the villainous Coachman and Keegan-Michael Key as Honest John. Lorraine Bracco plays Sofia the Seagull – a new character for the live-action version.
Pinocchio has become a seeming hot property in recent years, with an Italian live-action version starring Oscar-winner Roberto Benigni released in 2019.
2022 is also set to bring us Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion animation adaptation of the tale. It is said to be a ‘darker version’ – although the original 1940 Disney animation was pretty dark in itself. del Toro’s cast includes Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett, Finn Wolfhard, Christoph Waltz and Ron Perlman – as well as Ewan McGregor as Jiminy Cricket.
The 1940 Disney classic animation of Pinocchio was full of indelible images that became burned into the brain, if it was watched at a vulnerable age. The boys being transformed into braying donkeys is one of the scariest sequences.
It remains to be seen how the live-action version will cope with the puppet Pinocchio himself and if it will be done through make-up, CGI or some other way. We may get more information and even some images at tomorrow’s Disney Plus Day.