Disney may have finally found a new director for its live-action Pinocchio remake. The studio is reportedly in talks with Robert Zemeckis, who directed Back to the Future and Forrest Gump, to direct the movie, which as been in the works for years. Following the success of remakes of Aladdin and The Lion King this year, Disney is hoping to get the gears rolling on Pinocchio.
Zemeckis has not signed on to Pinocchio yet, reports Variety. He has been looking at the project since this summer, but is still working on finishing The Witches, a new adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel, for Warner Bros. Zemeckis reportedly did not want to fully commit to making Pinocchio until The Witches was further along in production. Now, Zemeckis has Pinocchio on his list as his possible next project.
The casting process will be the next step. The main role he has to focus on is the puppet-maker Geppetto. Previously, Tom Hanks was interested, but he ultimately passed.
Pinocchio is being produced by Chris Weitz and Andrew Miano. The most recent script was written by Weitz with Simon Farnaby and Paddington director Paul King, who was at one point set to direct. King left earlier this year, according to Variety.
Disney first adapted Pinocchio in 1940. The story, based on the Italian novel by Carlo Collodi, is about a puppet who longs to become a real boy. The original film won an Oscar for the song "When You Wish Upon a Star," which has since become Disney's signature anthem.
Since Pinocchio is in the public domain, there have been countless adaptations made in Italy, Hollywood and around the world. The Shape of Water filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro is also working on a new animated take with Mark Gustafson for Netflix.
As for Zemeckis, he won an Oscar for directing Forrest Gump and has an Oscar nomination for co-writing Back to the Future. More recently, he has focused on adult dramas like Flight, Allied and Welcome to Marwen, but has shown an interest in going back to family-friendly films. His The Witches remake is scheduled for Oct. 16, 2020.
Zemeckis has a long history with Disney. He directed Who Framed Roger Rabbit for the studio in 1988. When he was focusing on motion-capture films exclusively, his 2009 adaptation of A Christmas Carol was released by Disney.
The director has also been linked to The King, a project Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has been hoping to make. The film will tell the story of King Kamehameha, who united the Hawaiian islands.