Jiminy Cricket! Walt Disney Studios has found a director for its live-action reimagining of Pinocchio.
Paul King, helmer of the whimsical and acclaimed Paddington movies, has been chosen to direct the movie, with the studio hoping to being production in the fall.
Released in 1940, Pinocchio was the second animated film made by Disney, after 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. It adapted the Italian story by Carlo Collodi about a wooden boy puppet crafted by an old carver named Geppetto. The puppet is brought to life by a fairy who says he will become a real boy if he shows bravery. The character of Jiminy Cricket becomes his de facto conscience and tries to steer him in the right direction. What follows is a series of adventures that include Pinocchio being kidnapped to be part of a puppet show, getting turned into a donkey and being swallowed by a whale.
Chris Weitz and his Depth of Field partner Andrew Miano are producing. Jack Thorne, who penned the surprise hit Wonder, is rewriting the script.
Sam Mendes was initially slated to direct the project but left last year. Weitz previously worked on the script.
There have been several live-action Pinocchio movies made, including one in 1996 from New Line Cinema that starred Martin Landau and Jonathan Taylor Thomas. None of those were made by Disney, however, which is currently in the midst of bringing to life, Blue Fairy-style, its animation library.
King has won over jaded execs and skeptical adults with his inventive storytelling in bringing to life the Paddington tales, becoming an in-demand filmmaker in the process. He just signed on to direct Warner Bros.’ Willy Wonka, a reimagining of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.