The forthcoming live-action Pinocchio remake has cast Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jiminy Cricket and Cynthia Erivo as the Blue Fairy. The news broke on Wednesday in a report by The Wrap, Along with a few other key characters. There is still no word on when the live-action Pinocchio will be released.
Erivo is best-known for recent roles in Harriet and Widows, as well as HBO's The Outsider. She will reportedly play the Blue Fairy — the magical being who grants Geppetto's wish and turns Pinocchio into a "real boy." Meanwhile, Gordon-Levitt will provide the voice of Jiminy Cricket, though the character will presumably be computer-animated. Wednesday's report also revealed that Keegan-Michael Key will provide the voice of Honest John and Lorraine Bracco will provide the voice of a new character named Sofia the Seagull.
The live-action Pinocchio remake will be written by Robert Zemeckis and Chris Weitz, with Zemeckis directing. It is the latest re-imagining of Disney animated classics, which have generally performed well at the box office in spite of some critical failures and fan fatigue.
Pinocchio is slated to begin production next month. The movie stars Benjamin Evan Ainsworth as the voice of the titular character, who will also be heavily animated. Tom Hanks will play Geppetto, and Luke Evans will play the Coachman.
There is no word yet on when Pinocchio will come out, but we do know where — Disney+. Back in December, the company announced to investors that several of its upcoming feature films would skip the theaters and go straight to its streaming service. In addition to Pinocchio, the list includes the live-action Peter Pan & Wendy, the sequel to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Disenchanted, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers and Sister Act 3.
The move to streaming may hint at the long-term impact of COVID-19 on the movie industry. On Monday, Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke frankly about the new state of movie releases in Q&A at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference.
"The consumer is probably more impatient than they've ever been before," Chapek told the virtual crowd, "particularly since now they've had the luxury of an entire year of getting titles at home pretty much when they want them. So, I'm not sure there's going back. But we certainly don't want to do anything like cut the legs off a theatrical exhibition run."
"This is a fluid situation, and it's fluid for two reasons," Chapek went on. "The short term impact of COVID on the number of screens open and on consumers' willingness to go back, but also the fundamental changes of consumer behavior, which might be more profound. We are watching very carefully... to see how long term those preferences are going to shift. and that's why we talk about flexibility so often."
Disney's next two straight-to-streaming releases are Raya and the Last Dragon and Cruella. There is no release date in place for Pinocchio or the other movies listed above.