Several retellings of Carlo Collodi's classic adventures of Pinocchio, the puppet who wished to be a real boy, are in the works right now — and one of them just dropped its first official image.
HanWay Films has released an image of Oscar-winner Roberto Benigni (Life Is Beautiful) as Geppetto, the woodcarver who creates Pinocchio and ultimately becomes his father, from director Matteo Garrone's (Dogman) live-action adaptation of Collodi's stories. Benigni, who hasn't appeared in a feature film since 2012, was announced as Geppetto last fall, giving Garrone's production a worldwide star to spearhead the story. Garrone started shooting the film on March 18, and the shoot will continue for 11 weeks at various locations in Italy.
Garrone describes his adaptation as the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, and it's a bit of a departure from a director who's best-known internationally for dark drama films like Gomorrah. Though Garrone has said he's not sure how much darkness will creep into his Pinocchio, he has also noted that he “would certainly like children to be part of the audience.”
Garrone and Benigni's Pinocchio is one of three different new versions of the tale on our radar right now. Shortly before Benigni was announce as the star of this film, Netflix announced that Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro is working on his Pinocchio film, this one a stop-motion animated film set in the fascist Italy of the 1930s.
Then, of course, there's the Disney version. The House of Mouse has been putting together a live-action adaptation of its own classic animated Pinocchio film for a while now, but progress seems to have stalled. Last year Paddington 2 director Paul King boarded the production, and there were reports that the great Tom Hanks was in talks to play Geppetto for the film, but cinematographer Seamus McGarvey said back in January that the film was "canceled" over the 2018 holidays after King's departure, leaving its future uncertain for the moment.
At the moment, Garrone's Pinocchio seems in line to be the first of these productions to the finish line, but it does not yet have a release date planned in the U.S.