Everything to know about the ‘Pinocchio​’ live-action remake coming to Disney+

Published on December 29, 2020

Disney is still churning out their live-action remakes. Earlier this year, the studio produced Mulan, which went to Disney+ due to the pandemic. After the success of that digital release, the studio decided to release all their live-action remakes on their streaming service, including a new Pinocchio film, based on the now 80-year-old animated classic. The Pinocchio live-action remake should come out in the next two or three years.

The remake is coming from filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, who strangely, is now in the streaming game following the HBO Max release of The Witches. Zemeckis is reuniting with his Cast Away leading man, Tom Hanks. Hanks will play Geppetto, the woodcarver and father figure to the wooden boy who wants to be real and can’t lie easily. If anyone is best suited to play an ideal father figure, it’s Tom Hanks. 

There’s no word on who’ll play the wooden boy who finds himself in the belly of a whale. In the past, Zemeckis had Hanks play a variety of roles in the motion-capture holiday film, The Polar Express. Unconfirmed, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the director has Hanks play more than Geppetto in his live-action Pinocchio

So far, there have been two kinds of live-action Disney remakes. On the one hand, there are the films such as Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, and The Lion King that are CG extravaganzas living in the uncanny valley. More often than not, they’re eyesores and more of tired retreads than vital retellings. On the other hand, Disney has knocked it out of the park with their more grounded and tangible remakes, including Cinderella, Pete’s Dragon, and Christopher Robin. The smaller Disney’s live-action remakes are, the better they tend to be.

Which is why Zemeckis is a questionable choice for the Pinochio remake. Over the last 15 years, the director has been making movies in the uncanny valley, with the exception of the exceptional Allied. The Witches, Welcome to Marwen, and even The Walk live too far outside of reality. They’re full of strange CG characters and environments that aren’t convincing, especially the disastrous Welcome to Marwen. Knowing Zemeckis, his Disney+ live-action remake will be a CGI festival.

Pinocchio and Zemeckis going to Disney+ is a sign of change. For over 30 years, the filmmaker’s name was synonymous with the theatrical experience. The Back to the Future movies, Romancing the Stone, Cast Away, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Zemeckis is a big-screen filmmaker. Of course, we’ll see more films in theaters from him in the future. It’s just unfortunate to see someone with Zemeckis’ eye having his imagination displayed on streaming, not in a theater. 

Over the last several years, Disney and other major studios have been trying to retell the story of Pinocchio, based on Carlo Collodi’s original story. Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood) wrote a script, which might have involved Robert Downey Jr. as Gepetto. In the end, Downey went on to play Dr. Doolittle instead to disastrous results. After Anderson took a crack at Pinocchio, talented scribes such as Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass) and Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) wrote versions of the classic story.

No surprise here, Disney is making their major live-action remake first and beating other studios to the punch. Zemeckis’ remake will find a huge audience on Disney+. Back in October, the streaming service had over 73.7 million subscribers. More people than expected signed up this year due to the pandemic, making popular streaming services more popular than ever. Pinocchio isn’t the only major live-action Disney remake going to their streaming service. Disney fans will also see the next Peter Pan movie and more on Disney+.

Stay tuned for more updates on Disney+.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

Read more

More GD News