Even while fans of Disney are digesting the fact that in some areas they can only watch the live-action remake of “Mulan” next month on Disney+ streaming (by paying for it on-demand on top of their subscription), there is a new hot topic of sorts with the studio giant’s never-ending wave of live-action remakes. Next on the agenda – however far-off from actual production it still is – will be “Pinocchio,” the 1940 animated film that was the second feature-length work by Walt Disney himself. As expected the topic of discussion comes down to casting, and the studio may already have a veteran Disney regular to pick.
Variety tells us that there are now early talks between Disney and actor-filmmaker Tom Hanks to portray the role of Geppetto, the woodcarver adoptive father of the titular living wooden puppet character “Pinocchio,” in another in-development live-action adaptation of an animated classic. This project was first conceptualized in 2015 and got significant traction to development when Robert Zemeckis was tapped as director. Interestingly, Hanks was actually approached for the role back when it was Zemeckis’ predecessor Paul King on the chair for the “Pinocchio” remake.
The report goes that Hanks has received and finished reading a copy of the script and thus contacted Zemeckis to express interest in playing Geppetto. One needs only to look at both men’s filmographies to know that they have collaborated on several major blockbusters, ever since 1994’s “Forrest Gump” from Paramount. This also attests to the quality of the remake script being worked on by Chris Weitz, who is also co-producing “Pinocchio” with Andrew Miano. As one might recall from the 1940 original, itself adapted from Italian writer Carlo Collodi’s fairy-tale novel, the story is about a puppet that is brought to life by Geppetto’s wish, with a chance to become a real boy if he can act brave, truthful, and unselfish as he lives.
It has certainly been quite busy for Tom Hanks, on top of his recent work on Sony Pictures’ World War II film “Greyhound” (streamed on Apple TV+ due to impossibility of theatrical premiere) and Warner Bros.’ 2021 biopic “Elvis.” And it was while filming the latter on Australia that Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson were infected with COVID-19. Both have thankfully recovered, and there is still time to prepare for Hanks before Disney really initiates full production of the “Pinocchio” remake, such that it has no release date announced.
Hanks’ prior Disney roles include Sheriff Woody in four “Toy Story” films by Pixar, and even Walt Disney himself in the 2013 period drama “Saving Mr. Banks,” about the mogul’s efforts to adapt author PL Travers’ book “Mary Poppins” into the 1964 live-action/animated musical film.
Image from Hollywood Reporter