The last time Pinocchio was made in live-action, Rotten Tomatoes crowned it one of the worst films of the decade. That’s not going to happen with the next one. Star and producer Robert Downey Jr. has just recruited Paul Thomas Anderson to write and possibly even direct a new Pinocchio.
If you aren’t doing somersaults from that name, let me refresh your memory. Paul Thomas Anderson is the six-time Oscar nominated writer and director of Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There Will Be Blood. He’s almost always associated with Oscar-fare, so for him to come onboard a live-action, family fantasy film like Pinocchio in any form is kind of incredible.
Downey Jr., who’ll play Geppetto and maybe even Pinocchio, has been attached to this Warner Bros.-based project for several years. In that time, he’s had writers such as Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) and Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass) working on the film as well directors Ben Stiller and Tim Burton in talks. The latest draft is by Michael Mitnick, who wrote The Giver, and no director is attached. Anderson’s involvement means if he and Downey can get the script right, he may even direct. But to be fair, he’s just the latest big name on the project.
As this happens, Disney is also developing its own live-action Pinocchio. So if the film comes to fruition, it could be the second high-profile family title getting made at both studios at the same time. Right now, Jon Favreau is doing a live-action Jungle Book film for Disney and Andy Serkis is doing one for Warner Bros., each with absolutely stellar, all-star casts. This kind of parallel thinking is what happens when live-action family fantasy films like Maleficent, Cinderella and Alice In Wonderland make billions.
However, none of those films have arguable one of the best writers and directors working today along with the biggest box-office star in the world. Pinocchio could end up being someone on a whole other level.