If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
At this point, that seems to be Disney's strategy when it comes to live-action adaptations of their animated classics. Disney seems to be getting better and better at doing this type of thing each time out, with films like Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and Beauty and the Beast becoming massive box office hits. Disney knows that they have an excellent formula on their hands here, and they're giving high-profile adaptations to talented directors on what seems like a weekly basis. Tim Burton is tackling Dumbo, Jon Favreau is returning to the Disney world with The Lion King, Guy Ritchie is hoping to bounce back with Aladdin, and Niki Caro is bringing Mulan to life. Beyond those officially announced projects, Disney has many more films in development, including an adaptation of Pinocchio. While Guillermo del Toro is also hoping to put his stamp on the classic tale, Disney might beat him to the punch, as the film is quickly gaining traction at the Mouse House.
According to Deadline, Sam Mendes is in early talks to direct Disney's live-action adaptation of Pinocchio. Deadline gave no further details on the project, and the film does not seem to have a screenplay or even a targeted release date. Mendes was last behind the camera for Spectre and Skyfall, two well-received installments in the James Bond franchise, but he is not expected to return for Bond 25. At one point, Mendes was on track to direct an adaptation of Gay Talese's The Voyeur's Motel, but that appears to be dead in the water. The director has been mostly working in the theater world, as he was recently at the helm for The Ferryman from Jez Butterworth, per Deadline. I don't know why there are so many versions of Pinocchio running through Hollywood at the moment, but Disney obviously has the upper hand due to the iconic status of the animated film. Paul Thomas Anderson was rumored to be involved with an adaptation at Warner Bros. that fell through, and who knows what is happening with del Toro's version (his next film is The Shape of Water, which is completed and in theaters on December 8).
I don't know why Mendes is compelled to direct this movie, but as a fan of the filmmaker who practically resurrected the Bond series, I'm automatically much more intrigued in a Pinocchio movie. I like that Disney is bringing smart directors to the studio to direct these films, and Mendes has a background in creating kids' entertainment on the stage. We'll see where this goes, but Disney's Pinocchio has officially caught my eye.
Image courtesy of Sony