Over the last few years, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures division has produced several live-action films based on some of Disney’s classic animated films. So far, the company has brought to life Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and Beauty and the Beast. And, in 2019, the company has three highly-anticipated live-action releases on its schedule: Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Lion King.
Disney is next planning on turning Pinocchio into a live-action movie — and executives reportedly want Tom Hanks to play puppeteer Geppetto.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed on Thursday, November 29, that the beloved actor is in early talks to take on the role of Pinocchio’s creator in the film that will be directed and cowritten by Paul King (Paddington).
Hanks already has a good working relationship with Disney. The 62-year-old famously voices the character of Woody in the animated Toy Story series, which will have its fourth franchise release on June 21, 2019, and he played company founder Walt Disney in the 2013 film, Saving Mr. Banks.
The in-demand star will next be seen on the silver screen in You Are My Friend, playing children’s television icon Fred Rogers. He has already finished filming the TriStar Pictures film, which is slated to be released on October 18, 2019.
Next up on Hanks’ calendar is the Universal Pictures sci-fi flick Bios in which he plays Finch, an inventor who is the last surviving man on Earth. The Oscar winner is supposed to begin shooting in February.
Disney plans to start filming Pinocchio in May.
No word yet on who else Disney is looking to cast in the film.
Pinocchio, released in 1940, was the second animated feature film made by the Disney company after 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The movie — which was based on a novel for children by Italian author Carlo Collodi called The Adventures of Pinocchio — tells the tale of a toymaker named Geppetto, who wishes on a star for his new marionette to turn into a living boy. A fairy then turns Pinocchio into a puppet/human hybrid who must prove himself worthy and stop telling lies, which make his nose grow, if he wants to become a real boy. The film won two Oscars — Best Original Song (“When You Wish Upon a Star”) and Best Original Score.
Disney’s new version of Pinocchio isn’t the only project in the works about the character. Guillermo del Toro is set to write, direct, and produce an adaptation of Pinocchio for Netflix. His tale is said to be a stop-motion musical set during the rise of fascism in Italy under Mussolini.