First Look: Robert Benigni Stars as Geppetto in Matteo Garrone’s 'Pinocchio'

Greta De Lazzaris
Roberto Benigni as Geppetto in Matteo Garrone's 'Pinocchio'

The Academy Award-winning actor stars as the famed wood carver in the new Italian adaptation.

Matteo Garrone’s new film Pinocchio, currently shooting across Italy, has released its first image, showing Robert Benigni as the elderly wood carver Geppetto.

The film started shooting in mid-March in Tuscany, Lazio and Puglia, and is planning to wrap production at the end of May.

Garrone, who is riding high after sweeping the David di Donatello awards this week with his last film Dogman, also wrote the screenplay for the new film. His script is a direct adaptation of the widely translated classic Tuscan children's story by Carlo Collodi.

The director has previously admitted to dreaming of making his own version of Pinocchio since he was a child, first creating storyboards at the age of six.

Pinocchio marks Benigni’s first film role in seven years. After winning a best acting and foreign-language film award for Life Is Beautiful, he directed and starred in his own version of Pinocchio in 2002. The big-budget film, which was dubbed in the U.S., was a critical and commercial flop.

In addition to Benigni, Federico Ielapi will star as Pinocchio, Gigi Proietti as puppet master Mangiafuoco, Rocco Papaleo as the Cat, Massimo Ceccherini as the Fox and Dogman star Marcello Fonte as the Parrot.

The film, a France-Italy co-production, is produced by Archimede, Rai Cinema and Le Pacte, along with Recorded Picture Company and the Leone Film Group. HanWay Films is handling international sales, with 01 Distribution releasing the film in Italy and Le Pacte in France.

Disney is also working on a live-action reboot of its 1940 animated classic, and Guillermo del Toro has announced his own adaptation, a stop-motion musical set during Fascist Italy.