“Who Framed Roger Rabbit’s” Robert Zemeckis to Direct Disney’s “Pinocchio”

Credit: Disney

The Disney remake train keeps on rolling. Whether that’s a good thing or not, is yet to be seen, but one thing is for certain, Disney is not going to stop from remaking every single classic movie in their back catalog. It started with 101 Dalmatians in 1997, skipped about 17 years, and then came out swinging in 2014 with Maleficent and then in 2015 with Cinderella. Both of the latter films secured enough success and box office receipts that now all Disney does is make remakes.

To be honest, it’s a bit boring.

However, this next bit of news gives me hope and intrigues me. Robert Zemeckis, of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Forest Gump, and Back to the Future fame, has signed on to direct and co-write a live-action adaptation of Disney’s freakiest and most grotesque film in its repertoire: Pinocchio. 

For those who have lived under a rock or have never been subjected to Pinocchio, the film tells the story about a wooden boy who must do good deeds in order to become a real boy. Along the way, he’s distracted by a host of horrible characters, finds himself trapped on Pleasure Island (which is not a pleasurable place), gets turned into a donkey, is locked in a cage, and then swallowed by a huge whale name Monstro who is determined to eat him after he and his father Gepetto escape.

Pinocchio truly is one of Disney’s most disturbing films, which makes it that much more interesting. Will Disney be brave enough to keep the horror aspects of the movie in the remake? Or will Zemeckis turn the film into something that is full of dark humor but not so much dark imagery? Those are just a few questions we have going into this news but the fact that Zemeckis is directing it all makes it promising. Who Framed Roger Rabbit, also a Disney property that is supposedly getting a sequel sometime soon, is full of unsettling imagery as well as humor, so if anyone can handle Pinocchio, it’s Zemeckis.

Zemeckis will co-write the film with writer and producer Chris Weitz. They will be rewriting a script that Weitz wrote with Simon Farnaby. Farnaby is no longer attached to the picture. Pinocchio has been in production hell for some time now so the fact that we now have a writer and director makes this an exciting development.

There is no word on when the film will be released but there is a whole slew of empty spaces in Disney’s scheduling spanning all the way until 2023. Weitz, Zemeckis, and Disney are looking to a late 2020 production start date. No cast has been announced, but Tom Hanks was in talks to play Gepetto when the project was announced back in 2015. There’s no word on whether or not Hanks is still attached to the film or not.

Zemeckis’ next film is a new adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, starring Anne Hathaway and is due in theaters October 9. Meanwhile, Disney’s next live-action remake Mulan releases March 27.

Shelby Arnold
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