Jane Goldman to Rewrite ‘Pinocchio’ for Tim Burton & Robert Downey Jr.

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 16th, 2014 at 9:23 am,

Director Tim Burton traveled a rocky road this year, what with his latest Johnny Depp collaboration (the Dark Shadows reboot) prompting lots of complaints about their style having grown stale; not to mention, the Burton-produced Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter movie failed to establish the literary mashup as either an artistically-credible or bankable genre. However, he did partly regain his footing with Frankenweenie, which failed to light up the box office – but still managed to convince a lot of people that Burton still has his old creative spark.

Point being, this is an ideal time for Burton to shake off his recent disappointments and dust the cobwebs off his now-trademark warped Gothic creative approach – though, the news that he’s circling a Pinocchio re-telling for Warner Bros. seems less encouraging at first, given his spotty record when it comes to re-imagining beloved stories that were not his original creation (a la Frankenweenie).

Still, what is encouraging about Burton eyeing Pinocchio is that the project (based on Carlo Collodi’s classic dark cautionary children’s story) would see the filmmaker infused with new creative blood. That is, he’s planning to collaborate with people outside his usual circle (re: not Depp), including Robert Downey Jr. starring as the elder toymaker Geppetto. In fact, both Burton and RDJ have been dancing around Pinocchio for almost a year now, so the duo are clearly eager to work together.

Bryan Fuller (creator of the now-defunct Pushing Daisies and Mockingbird Lane) penned the first script draft for Pinocchio, but Heat Vision is reporting that fan-fave screenwriter Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, Woman in Black) is in negotiations to revise Fuller’s screenplay. Moreover, Goldman is incorporating notes from Downey, as a means to “bring the courtship to a close and initiate commitments” from Burton and RDJ.

Goldman seems like a great candidate for this job; not only since she would lend a dark wit to Burton’s project (similar to her work on Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust), but also because she has a pre-established connection to the filmmaker – having come aboard last year to adapt the spooky photography and story of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children for the big screen (which is also a project Burton has been rumored to direct somewhere down the line). Not to mention, it’s hard to imagine that Fuller’s draft needs much touching up, as Pinocchio is very much a demented fairy tale up his alley. Thus, as a whole, this project is shaping up well and stands to benefit from Burton joining the party (bringing his signature mixture of creepiness and heart with him).

geppetto pinocchio Jane Goldman to Rewrite Pinocchio for Tim Burton & Robert Downey Jr.

Geppetto and his famous puppet in Disney’s animated ‘Pinocchio’ movie

However, for those keeping track: there’s also a developing stop-motion Pinocchio adaptation that Guillermo del Toro co-wrote and is going to co-direct for the Jim Henson Company (after he wraps post-production on Pacific Rim) and a prequel titled The Three Misfortunes of Geppetto, with Shawn Levy (Real Steel) loosely attached to direct. Hence, Warner Bros. needs to get Burton and RDJ to commit sooner rather than later, before the project gets knocked back by the competition (like what happened to Disney’s own Snow White-inspired Order of the Seven).

On a related note: it would be nice to see RDJ take a break from just playing Tony Stark in the foreseeable future, as right now he’s only certain to appear in Iron Man 3 and The Avengers 2 over the next couple years (officially, at least). The role of the humble Geppetto would also be a good reminder for people that RDJ can play characters other than eccentric geniuses (ie. Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes).

More on Pinocchio as the story develops.

Source: THR

TAGS: Pinocchio
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  1. While I do enjoy RDJ in some other roles, I feel the best role he’s every played has been that of Tony Stark. He made that character his own. IMO, an actor does a great job in a role when it’s hard for me to distinguish he (the actor) from the character he portrays. RDJ has done that better with Tony Stark than any actor in any role I’ve seen. It’s as if RDJ and Stark are inseperatably, where there is on, there is the other. I truly feel RDJ needs to continue to play Stark until he either can’t physically do it any more, or until the Marvel/super hero genre just burns itself out. Ether way, he needs to continue as Stark.

  2. This is not to say he shouldn’t take other roles or projects, just that Marvel and Stark should be his first priority. Let face it, the super hero genre won’t last forever, and when it’s over, all the actors can move on. But until then, ride it for all it’s worth while it’s hot.

  3. Pinocchio bombed 10 years ago when Roberto Benini did it.We don’t need another version.

  4. IMO bringing in a writer like Goldman can only be a good thing for Burton. I think working with a creative team or actors that he’s not familiar with could help regain the promise that his career once had. I think the last great movie he made was Big Fish. Since then, for me personally every movie he’s made is a mix of all the same things and it has gotten stale with Dark Shadows representing a complete bottoming out.

  5. Burton? Depp? What junk!They need to retire or be banned out of film-making! I can just imagine what they will do with pinnochio’s nose! (“gettin’ wood?”). And that screen-writer gal has a pretty big proboscus sprouting outta her puss, too!

  6. Johnny Depp se non è nel film, questo non sarà nulla!!! Anome di tutte le grandi fan di Johnny Depp come me : VOGLIAMO JOHNNY DEPP SUL FILM, SE NON C’è NON LO GUARDIAMO!!!!!!!

    • I think saying that is just asking them to revert to similar formulas that Burton is known for. Like ‘Edward Scissorhands’. Is that what Burton/Depp fans really want?