It seems there are now multiple new Hollywood studio-backed versions of nearly every famous fairy tale either being actively developed or on the verge of hitting theaters (see: this year’s Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman).
Case in point: Italian author Carlo Collodi’s famous “children’s story,” Pinocchio, which is the basis for a new 3D stop-motion flick from the Jim Henson Company and Guillermo del Toro, and a prequel titled The Three Misfortunes of Gepetto from 20th Century Fox – and a live-action project at Warner Bros. that is based on a screenplay by Bryan Fuller (the creator of Pushing Daisies).
If Downey does sign on for Pinocchio, then chances are good that Gepetto could play a somewhat more substantial role in the story that he traditionally does. Whether the film will feature a standard iteration of the character as a kindly, but lonely older man – or mix things up by making him more of a comical and offbeat figure (a la most of Downey’s recent roles) – remains to be seen.
Both Fuller and Burton are known for delivering darkly quirky fare that mixes supernatural kookiness with sentiment; the addition of the latter’s trademark warped visual style stands to not only benefit Fuller’s Pinocchio screenplay, but also the original story itself, which is already a pretty twisted children’s tale (as is).
Don’t count on this being a done deal just yet, though. Downey is slated to begin work on Iron Man 3 in the near future, while Burton is said to be considering the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children adaptation as his next directing project. Since Warner Bros. wants to fast-track Pinocchio for production (so as to beat out the competition) the studio could move ahead without the actor-director pair, if they choose to not prioritize their first would-be collaboration.
Pinocchio with Burton and Downey sounds intriguing for the reasons mentioned before; in addition, the Sherlock Holmes actor has enough of a similar trademark performance style to that of Burton’s usual leading man (Johnny Depp, of course) that the union of the two talents seems all the more natural.
If there’s any reason to be particularly concerned about this team-up, it’s arguablyBurton’s 2010 flick, Alice in Wonderland. That fantastical literature-based project was a massive financial worldwide hit in theaters… and yet, most people don’t consider it to be nearly as good as it reads on paper. Of course, the similarities between that title and Pinocchio aren’t reason enough to already be especially wary of a Burton-helmed version of the latter (yet), since it genuinely is the sort of dark fantasy that’s right up the filmmaker’s alley.
We will continue to keep you updated on the status of Pinocchio as the story develops.