Clearly, Robert Downey Jr. has not learned his lesson when it comes to bringing inanimate humanoid objects to life (see: Ultron). And in an ironic twist of studio fate, the actor will once again play puppeteer, though this time for Warner Bros. in its live-action version of the classic tale Pinocchio.
The adaptation has been in the works since 2012, with both Tim Burton and Ben Stiller loosely attached to direct at one time or another. Downey has been the single constant in the film’s gestation, apparently helping craft the storyline as well as agreeing to play both Geppetto and the titular marionette. That said, news on the project remained quiet for two years, and with Downey committed to Marvel
for life, it almost seemed Warner Bros. had shelved it. Today, though, brings an update on the puppet’s development.
The word comes from THR, which is reporting that Warner Bros. and Downey are indeed moving forward with Pinocchio and have enlisted Paul Thomas Anderson to pen another draft of the script (Michael Mitnick of The Giver penned the latest draft of the script). Anderson may also direct, which should please Downey, considering he was originally set to work with the director on Inherent Vice before his Avengers: Age of Ultron obligations prevented it.
Following the success of Disney’s Cinderella – and its upcoming onslaught of other classic adaptations – Warner Bros. is most likely interested in fast-tracking the project to compete with the House of Mouse and capitalize on the full-proof animated fairy tale to live-action movie formula. Other major studios are also hopping on the bandwagon, including Universal, which will convert Hans Christiansen’s The Little Mermaid to the big screen.
Pinocchio has been a popular cinematic property for some time now. Guillermo del Toro was long attached to a stop-motion dark retelling of Carlo Collodi’s 19th century novel The Adventures of Pinocchio, and director Shawn Levy (Real Steel) originally made plans in 2011 for a prequel to the ‘Pinocchio’ story, titled The Three Misfortunes of Geppetto. But with del Toro committed to Pacific Rim 2 and no recent word on Levy’s prequel, it would seem Disney’s Pinocchio will be the only other puppet-turned-person adaptation to challenge Warner Bros. in the coming future.
That being said, WB’s Pinocchio retelling may now have the advantage over Disney’s, what with a potential director now working on the script. Anderson, whose other directorial efforts include Magnolia and the Oscar-winning There Will Be Blood, has never been one to go the conventional route with his filmmaking work (just watching a few minutes of The Master will tell you so much). In other words: as surprising as it is to learn that he’s involved at all, if Anderson does decide to direct Pinocchio then it could definitely wind up being one fairy tale re-told worth checking out.
Pinocchio does not have a release date yet, but stay tuned for additional details about the film.