Tom Hanks is not only on a quest to play every beloved real-life person, but also fictional characters we have come to love. The actor is reportedly in early talks to play Geppetto in Disney's live-action Pinocchio.
The new film will be directed by Paul King, the filmmaker behind the acclaimed Paddington movies, reports Variety. The producers are Andrew Miano (A Single Man, Admission) and Chris Weitz (About A Boy, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).
King, Weitz and Simon Farnaby wrote the most recent script. Farnaby is an actor, who also co-wrote Paddington 2 with King, and are also working on a third Paddington.
Disney first adapted Carlo Collodi's The Adventures of Pinocchio in 1940. Although initially a box office disappointment, the film is considered to be one of the best films Disney ever made, going on to win Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Original Song for "When You Wish Upon A Star."
The story tells the tale of a wooden puppet built by the lonely carpenter, Geppetto. One night, the Blue Fairy makes Pinocchio come to life, and tells him he can become a real boy if he can be "brave, truthful and unselfish." That proves to be more difficult than he imagined, but with Jiminy Cricket by his side as his conscience, he learns what it means to be a real boy.
As the story itself is in the public domain, dozens of film and television adaptations have been made. Robert Downey Jr. had tried for years to make one for Warner Bros. An Italian-language version is also in the works, and will reportedly be closer to Collodi's much darker original story.
It has taken Disney longer to get a live-action Pinocchio off the ground than its other remakes of animated classics. Back in April 2015, Deadline first reported that Peter Hedges, who worked with Weitz on About A Boy, was writing it. Then in May 2017, Deadline reported that Skyfall director Sam Mendes was in early talks to direct. Mendes eventually moved on, and King was hired in February 2018.
In August, Weitz told LRM Online that Pinocchio was still in the works.
“It’s going to shoot in England and Italy starting next year. We’re still in the early stages of, you know, development and developing the script, so there’s no casting to talk about, but I’m very excited about it," Weitz said.
Pinocchio is the latest in the long line of Disney remakes of its classic animated films. The studio's next remake is Tim Burton's Dumbo, which opens on March 29. Guy Ritchie's Aladdin opens on May 24, and Jon Favreau's The Lion King hits theaters on July 19. Niki Caro's Mulan is scheduled for March 27, 2020.
Hanks' next Disney movie, Pixar's Toy Story 4, opens on June 21. He recently finished filming his Fred Rogers movie, which opens October 2019.
Photo credit: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images