How did I miss this Burton announcement this week? The fairy tale movie list just keeps growing and growing... and that's the truth. ;)
Burton, who put his bizarrely charming stamp on "Alice in Wonderland" in 2010, is in talks to direct a Warner Bros.-produced big screen, live action adaptation of "Pinocchio." Circling the role of Geppetto, the puppet-maker and creator of the marionette boy, is none other than Robert Downey Jr. This version of the fairytale originally written by Carlo Collodi would see Geppetto seeking out his lost puppet son; past iterations, including the classic Disney cartoon, have focused more on the twists, turns and lessons learned during Pinocchio's quest to become a real boy and reunite with the puppet-maker.
Neither director nor actor has signed on the dotted line, and scheduling still has to be worked out, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, they are both keen to sign on. Source: HERE
Once somebody puts ink on a contract somewhere and makes this more than a conversation we should get quite a few more details on this Gepetto-centric adaptation since Burton doesn't take long to jump into his projects when he has all his strings in hand. (The media are going to have a field day with the puns on this one! And someone is going to have to say something about Robert Downey Jr going from Iron Man to wooden boy...)
Speaking of Pinocchio adaptations, whatever happened to the Guillermo del Toro, Henson & Gris Grimley 3D stop-motion animation project? I snapped up the Gris Grimley illustrated book that was the inspiration for this adaptation, back when it appeared years ago. Even though it's "Gris Grimley dark", it also has an interesting humor to the illustrations and suits Collodi's original story (technically "stories") very well. Add in the other creative heavy weights (del Toro and Henson Co) and the potential for a film like this is amazing.
|Guillermo del Toro's Stop Motion Pinocchio|
Here's the info from earlier last year:
Guillermo del Toro, The Jim Henson Company and Pathe are moving forward with a stop-motion animated 3D Pinocchio. It is a feature adaptation of the Carlo Collodi fairy tale and will reportedly be edgier than the 1940 animated Disney classic. Gris Grimly is set to co-direct with Mark Gustafson, and production will begin later this year. The basis of this project was Grimly's 2002 illustrated book of of Collodi’s tale. Del Toro and Matthew Robbins crafted the story based on a script from Robbins, who has collaborated with del Toro on scripts for Mimic, the Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark remake, and the upcoming At the Mountains of Madness. The director is producing the feature along with Jim Henson Company’s Lisa Henson and Jason Lust, and Allison Abbate. Gary Ungar is exec producer along with Pathe’s Francois Ivernel and Cameron McCracken. This version will be for audiences 10 years and up, and will be scarier than the Disney film. Australian musician and film composer Nick Cave will serve as the music consultant for the project. The puppets and 3D elements will be developed with the UK's MacKinnon and Saunders, that did The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, and the upcoming Frankenweenie.
|Guillermo de Toro's Pinocchio - key frame|
And, in case you haven't read them before, here are some excerpts from an interview with Guillermo del Toro regarding Pinocchio, Collodi's characters and fairy tale recorders and adaptors (including Disney) from HERE:
“There has to be darkness in any fairy tale or children’s narrative work, something the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson and Walt Disney understood. We tend to call something Disney-fied, but a lot of people forget how powerfully disturbing the best animated Disney movies are, including those kids being turned into donkeys in Pinocchio. What we’re trying to do is present a Pinocchio that is more faithful to the take that Collodi wrote. That is more surreal and slightly darker than what we’ve seen before.”
“the Blue Fairy is really a dead girl’s spirit. Pinocchio has strange moments of lucid dreaming bordering on hallucinations, with black rabbits. The sperm whale that swallows Pinocchio was actually a giant dogfish, which allows for more classical scale and design. The many mishaps Pinocchio goes through include several near-death close calls, a lot more harrowing moments. The key with this is not making any of it feel gratuitous, because the story is integrated with moments of comedy and beauty. He’s one of the great characters, whose purity and innocence allows him to survive in this bleak landscape of robbers and thugs, emerging from the darkness with his soul intact.”
So the current status on this project is unknown apart from being "in production". Apparently it went into production toward the end of 2011 as planned and things have been very quiet from the team (I'm guessing they're very busy!) since.
There's one more Pinocchio project in the works too: a prequel called The Three Misfortunes of Gepetto with Shawn Levyy (Real Steel) attached to direct as of October 2011 (see HERE for a couple more details). It's being touted as “a fresh way into the Pinocchio story.”
Deadline report the studio bought Michael Vukadinovich's screenplay for The Three Misfortunes of Geppetto, and aim to produce a film in the vein of "Big Fish or The Princess Bride." In the story, Geppetto "endures a life of misfortune, war and adventure all to be with Julia Moon, his true love." (Source: HERE)
Not much else on this project right now either but I'm sure it will get more than a few mentions and perhaps nudge out any further news (if there is any) with the Burton & Robert Downey Jr. announcement this week.