Pinocchio Teaser: Robert Zemeckis Directs Tom Hanks for Disney+

Hanks plays Geppetto in the live-action remake of the classic 1940 Disney film, which airs September 8 on Disney+.

Tom Hanks, fresh from the Cannes premiere of Elvis, directs Disney+’s live-action remake Pinocchio, which will stream September 8 as part of Disney+ Day. Hanks plays Geppetto, the puppeteer who wishes for a son. Cynthia Erivo plays the blue fairy who grants Geppetto’s wish and turns the puppet Pinocchio into a real boy, voiced by 13-year-old Benjamin Evan Ainsworth. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays animated narrator Jiminy Cricket. Lorraine Bracco, Luke Evans and Keegan-Michael Key also star. Watch the first teaser for the film below.

Based on the 1883 Italian book by Carlo Collodi and the 1940 Disney film, Pinocchio has been a live-action film in development since 2015. While a slew of writers and directors were once involved with the project – including Paddington boss Paul King – longtime Hanks collaborator Robert Zemeckis took over directing. The ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘Polar Express’ writer is co-writing the screenplay with ‘Wonka’ writer Simon Farnaby and 2015 ‘Cinderella’ writer Chris Weitz.

The teaser trailer marks the first major change for the live-action Pinocchio: The Blue Fairy sings the famous ballad “When You Wish Upon a Star,” a tune originally owned by Jiminy Cricket. Featuring the voice of Grammy, Emmy and Tony award winner Erivo playing the Blue Fairy is a no-brainer for the film, with Erivo donning the Blue Fairy makeup before later starring as Elphaba for Universal Pictures’ “Wicked” turns green.

Disney+’s Pinocchio should not be confused with Netflix’s Pinocchio adaptation, directed by Guillermo del Toro. The stop-motion animated film will premiere in December 2022 and stars David Bradley as Geppetto. Ewan McGregor voices Sebastian J. Cricket, the narrator of the fantastical story. Newcomer Gregory Mann is the eponymous “real boy” Pinocchio, with Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, John Turturro, Ron Perlman, Tim Blake Nelson, Burn Gorman, Christoph Waltz and Tilda Swinton rounding out the ensemble cast.

Long a mainstream director pushing the visual avant-garde of Hollywood storytelling, Zemeckis relies more on live action here than in recent, CG-dominated family stories like The Polar Express and Christmas Carol. Most recently, he brought another live-action film based on a children’s story to Disney+, The Witches, which was released in 2020 and is based on Roald Dahl’s novel.

Watch the teaser trailer for Disney+’s Pinocchio below.

Pinocchio launches September 8th on Disney+.

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Lindsay Lowe

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