After losing Paul Thomas Anderson from the director's chair, the Robert Downey Jr. starring remake of Pinocchio looked like it was in deep trouble. But here we are, a few short months later and a brand new director has found their way to the helm of the classic children's tale. Prepare yourself for Ron Howard's take on Pinocchio.
The Tracking Board broke the news this evening that Ron Howard is now attaching himself to the project that has seen both Paul Thomas Anderson and Ben Stiller attached to direct at one point or another, before breaking it off. The third time may be a charm however, as Howard just might have the artistic sensibilities that Pinocchio needs to get off the ground.
This is a great opportunity for Ron Howard, who is coming off of a box office flop with In The Heart Of The Sea, but hoping to return to pleasing the crowd with this fall's Inferno - the latest entry in the Robert Langdon series starring Tom Hanks. And while Howard hasn't directed a fairy tale in the classical vein before, the combination of films such as Splash, Cocoon, and Willow all prove that Howard has the chops to bring a story of fantastic whimsy and high adventure to the screen. With his filmography being pretty much grounded in realism since 2001's How The Grinch Stole Christmas, this could be a return to form for the legendary director.
As for Robert Downey Jr., the role of Geppetto in Pinocchio would be very much like 2014's The Judge, in that it would give him some breathing room between appearances as the Marvel Cinematic Universe's one true Tony Stark. With Captain America: Civil War more than likely requiring a performance that's both physically and emotionally grueling, the more traditional story of a kindly man and the wooden boy he created should serve as a nice palette cleanser before going back to whatever the MCU will throw at him next. Of course, that depends on how many people on the cast and crew remember the connection between this tale as old as time, and the "kinda/sorta" remake Downey was involved in with last year's Avengers: Age Of Ultron.
The most exciting part about Ron Howard working on Pinocchio with Robert Downey Jr. is the fact that this marks another one of those projects where two big names that have never worked together are finally collaborating for the first time. Which makes the decision for this version of the Carlo Collodi classic to focus on Geppetto, rather than Pinocchio, more than a perfect idea. With Downey taking front and center, he'll find himself searching far and wide, as well as fighting a massive whale, in order to be reunited with the puppet who he claims as his own son. Looks like that experience on In The Heart Of The Sea will serve Howard well just yet.
No release date or production start date are in play for Pinocchio. In the meantime, you can see Robert Downey Jr. in Captain America: Civil War on May 6th; while Ron Howard's next film in the director's chair, Inferno, opens on October 28th.