Reports are in that Shawn Levy is now attached to direct yet another upcoming noteworthy studio production – alongside 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Voyage remake, a new version of Frankenstein, an amorphous action-adventure with Hugh Jackman, and (possibly) a sequel to the currently-playing Real Steel.
Now it seems that Levy is up to call the shots on The Three Misfortunes of Geppetto, a fairy tale-inspired project that will not be a re-imaginging of its inspiration (re: Pinocchio) – rather, it will be a prequel to that story.
Fox has officially acquired the Three Misfortunes of Geppetto spec script by playwright/screenwriter Michael Vukadinovich and attached Levy as director. It’s one of at least three Pinocchio-related projects in the works, alongside Warner Bros.’ live-action adaptation (which Tim Burton has reportedly expressed an interest in) and the Guillermo del Toro-produced stop-motion animated take on the tale, from the Jim Henson Company.
Here is how Deadline describes Vukadinovich’s Three Misfortunes of Geppetto screenplay:
It’s a prequel to the story of ‘Pinocchio’, in which Geppetto endures a life of misfortune, war and adventure, all to be with Julia Moon, his true love. The sweep is reminiscent of ‘Big Fish’ or ‘The Princess Bride’ and it creates a fresh way into the Pinocchio story at a time when revisionist fairy tales are dominating the movie landscape.
For those who haven’t been keeping track: the upcoming slate of “re-worked” fairy tale projects includes Tarsem Singh’s Snow White movie, director Rupert Sander’s Snow White and the Huntsman, Disney’s Maleficent, an adaptation of the Little Mermaid literary re-imagining (titled Mermaid), and a retelling of Beauty & the Beast – as co-conceived by del Toro.
It sounds as though Three Misfortunes of Geppetto is taking a (narrative) route similar to next year’s Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, in the sense that both films seek to flesh out and expand upon their respective source material – rather than find a way to retell a classic fairy tale in a creative fashion that resonates more with contemporary audiences. Obviously, Geppetto is aiming for something more whimsical and romantic in tone than the tongue-in-cheek Hansel and Gretel action flick, but both are nonetheless striving to do something other than imaginatively recycle a famous story.
Levy has improved over the years, with respect to his skills as a cinematic storyteller. While Real Steel certainly has its faults, it’s arguably a solid step above Levy’s Night at the Museum movies – which were in turn a notable improvement on Levy’s previous family-friendly directorial efforts (see: Big Fat Liar, Cheaper by the Dozen, The Pink Panther). So, hopefully, he’ll continue to evolve as a filmmaker and deliver a Three Misfotunes of Gepetto movie that’s genuinely heart-warming and tragic.
We will continue to keep you posted on the status of The Three Misfortunes of Geppetto as more information is released.