Sam Mendes is in talks to take on Disney’s live-action adaptation of Pinocchio. The monster box office success of Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book is sure to have been a deciding factor to continue rehashing the animated stories for Disney. The live-action adaptation of The Lion King is in the works and now the long rumored live-action Pinocchio may have found a director. The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Mulan are rumored to be coming next from the Mouse House.
Deadline reports that Mendes (American Beauty, Spectre) is currently in very early talks to direct the live-action Pinocchio for Disney. We’ll take this news with a grain of salt because about a year ago it was reported that Mendes was in early talks to direct a live-action remake of James and the Giant Peach, which has yet to come into fruition. But it will be pretty interesting to see what kind of spin Mendes can do with both movies, so hopefully James and the Giant Peach is still on the gravy making rehash train for Disney. Maybe kick James and Giant Peach down to Tim Burton who produced the original movie.
Mendes is an English director best known for dramedy American Beauty, which earned him an Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Director in 1999. He has also directed two James Bond movies, 2012’s Skyfall and 2015’s Spectre. In addition to directing movies, Mendes is a stage director. He is known for dark re-interpretations of Cabaret, Oliver, Company, and even directed his first musical for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the Wes End stage company. Mendes currently has a sold out play, The Ferryman at the Royal Court and later the West End. It will be interesting to see if Mendes ends up taking on the project because there is a virtual graveyard of rumored and attached directors for the live-action remake of Pinocchio.
Disney is also doing a remake of the already live-action Mary Poppins, but one has to wonder why not make a cartoon version of Marry Poppins? A little reversal would be creative. During the dance routines they can use real life animals instead, making it a total reversal of the original movie. The remake apparently has the stamp of approval from 91-year old actor Dick Van Dyke who was in the original Mary Poppins, which is pretty cool, I guess.
There’s no word yet if Robert Downey Jr. is still planning his live-action Pinocchio over at Warner Bros. He has expressed very publically that he would love to portray Gepetto (for real). Paul Thomas Anderson, Ben Stiller, Tim Burton and Ron Howard have all been rumored to direct a live-action version of Pinocchio with Downey as Gepetto, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see which goes first. Maybe George Lucas and Steven Spielberg will be next on the ever-growing list of directors to try and tackle the live-action remake of Pinocchio. Maybe call Jonathon Taylor Thomas to reprise his amazing portrayal of Pinocchio.