ByMark Newton, writer at
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

When it comes to abbreviatable Hollywood veterans Paul Thomas Anderson and Robert Downey Jr., classic Disney flicks usually aren't the first thing which spring to mind.

However, the Inherent Vices director and Avengers star plan to combine their filmmaking prowess and deliver a live-action version of Pinocchio for Warner Bros. In fact, the project is a bit of a labor of love for Downey, who has spearheaded the project with his Team Downey production company.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Anderson has been hired to write a draft for the film with an eye towards eventually directing. Although this kind of film doesn't really seem within Anderson's normal remit, he has wanted to work with Downey Jr. for some time.

The pair did plan to collaborate on Anderson's recently released Inherent Vices, but the filming for The Avengers: Age of Ultron prevented this from becoming a reality. In the end, Joaquin Phoenix stepped into Downey's role.

Downey Jr. will star in the film as Geppetto - the elderly woodcarver who first created the living puppet boy, Pinocchio. Considering Downey will play him, I can imagine the story is being slightly tweaked to accommodate a younger, if only slightly, actor.

Watch the classic scene of Pinocchio coming alive below:

The last we heard about Pinocchio, The Giver scribe Michael Mitnick had also written a treatment which has been quietly tweaked by Robert Downey Jr. over the past six months. Considering Anderson has now been brought on to write, it's unclear how much of Mitnick's contribution will remain.

Warner's Pinocchio has been on the back burner for several years, however the recent influx and success of live-action adaptations of animated Disney films has lit a fire under the project and seemingly got it moving. Despite most famously appearing in Disney's Marvel movies, Downey Jr. also has a long-standing relationship with Warner and will produce the film along with Team Downey partner Susan Downey.

Live-Action + Disney Nostalgia = $$$

The success of films such as Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Maleficent means Pinocchio will be just one of a fresh slew of live-action Disney adaptations heading our way. In the coming years we can expect to see live-action versions of Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Dumbo, Mulan, Pocahontas, and the The Jungle Book.

In fact, both Warner and Disney have rival versions of Rudyard Kipling's classic animal filled tale. Disney currently has Jon Favreau heading their Jungle Book, while Warner Bros has signed up Benedict Cumberbatch, Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett to star in theirs. We can expect these in 2016 and 2017 respectively, which certainly means comparisons will be drawn.

Concept art from del Toro's Pinocchio.
Concept art from del Toro's Pinocchio.

In fact, there are also several Pinocchio films currently in various stages of development. Earlier this year, Disney announced they would also be developing a live-action Pinocchio written by Peter Hedges, while Guillermo del Toro has also been working on a stop-animation version of Carlo Collodi's 1883 children's tale since 2008. However, considering we've heard little news about this last project - plus del Toro's currently busy schedule - I can imagine it has been put on hold for the time being.

Source: TheHollywoodReporter


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