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With the success of Disney’s Maleficent, live-action remakes of fairy tales have become a big business. When a live-action Pinocchio was announced earlier this year by Warner Brothers, it was far from surprising. Then we heard that Robert Downey Jr. wanted to play Geppetto and Paul Thomas Anderson was going to write and direct. This made the idea just crazy enough to work. However, now it looks like the film just got significantly less quirky, as Anderson is reported to no longer be planning to direct.
The original report stated that Anderson was on board to write a draft of the screenplay with the possibility of directing. The report, which came via film reporter Jeff Sneider’s Twitter account, states only that that Anderson will not direct. This means he may still be working on a screenplay.
Although, the idea of somebody else directing a screenplay written by P.T. Anderson sounds like an even stranger experience than a movie by Anderson already would be. There’s a good chance that even if he does write a draft, it will see significant rewrites from whoever does come on board to direct. There’s no word as to why Anderson has bowed out. The idea that the off-beat director would be doing a major studio film like this struck many as odd when it was originally announced, and it’s possible that everybody involved just came to the conclusion that it wasn’t going to work, after all.
Robert Downey Jr. is still on board, so he’ll likely be the driving force in finding a new director. He’s been part of the production for months, since before Paul Thomas Anderson was on board and the film was working from a script written by Michael Mitnick. We’ll see if that script gains any new life with Anderson out of the picture.
While the majority of fairy tale remakes are being handled by Disney, as follow ups from their original animated features, other studios have jumped on the bandwagon as well to try to replicate Disney’s early success. In addition to Pinocchio, Warner is also handling distribution of a live-action Jungle Book, which will follow the one being done by Disney. Universal is currently working on The Little Mermaid, as well.