There has been talk of Disney giving their 1940 film Pinocchio the live-action treatment for at least three years, which should be surprising to no one since they’re giving the live-action treatment to all of their animated movies except for Song of the South. One day in the near future a CGI’d to Pleasure Island and back version of Pinocchio will be making its way to a theater near you…or dropping on Disney+, depending on how this COVID-19 thing turns out. And when that happens, there’s a very good chance the old man who becomes Pinocchio’s human father Geppetto will be played by none other than Hollywood’s dad himself, Tom Hanks.
Deadline reports that both Disney and Tom Hanks are very interested in Tom playing Geppetto. By Deadline’s account, it sounds like the only person who needs any convincing is Pinocchio’s director, Robert Zemeckis. Although even that probably won’t involve much begging on Tom’s part. Robert Zemeckis has directed Tom Hanks in three movies: Forrest Gump, Cast Away, and The Polar Express. Still, nothing is confirmed, and everything is still in the “in talks” phase of planning. But it’s probably going to happen.
We hear that after reading the script, Hanks has reached out to Zemeckis to let him know he wants to do the film. Disney has always longed for Hanks to play the woodcarver, having approached him years ago when Paul King was attached to direct. That deal was never made, but given Hanks and Zemeckis’ long-standing relationship going back to when they both won Oscars for their work on Forrest Gump, this seems more likely to move forward.
It’s also not known when Pinocchio will go into production. Tom Hanks was filming Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic in Australia when he and his wife Rita Wilson both tested positive for the coronavirus. Production was put on hold, and Tom ended up in the hospital. But in the meantime, I’m sure Disney will get to work trying to make a live-action talking cricket in a suit and top hat look anything but terrifying. It’s going to take a lot of hours to make the thorax cuter. And less mandible goo! Come on people, this isn’t Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio.
If Tom Hanks is confirmed to play Geppetto, I think it’s an excellent choice. Because you need real-world experience to be a great actor. Geppetto is the father of a son that’s been sheltered from reality all his life and has to watch his son make dumb mistakes over and over again, to the point where he begins to turn into a donkey. Tom’s audition package can just be a series of clips of his son, Chet Hanks. “Now, my boy has never turned into a donkey. But as you can see, despite my best efforts as a father, my son has been known to act like an ass.”