More info i
Credit: LMPC via Getty Images

WIRE Buzz: Robert Zemeckis directing Pinocchio remake; Anaconda reboot slithers forward

Contributed by
Jan 24, 2020, 4:59 PM EST

Disney's live-action remake of Pinocchio finally has a director. Deadline reports that Back to the Future's Robert Zemeckis has closed a deal to direct and co-write the long-gestating project for the Mouse House. We previously reported that the filmmaker was circling the project back in October.

Writer/director Chris Weitz (Rogue One, Operation Finale) is helping pen the screenplay with Zemeckis, who is looking to begin production at the end of the year. No casting has been confirmed just yet, although Tom Hanks was reportedly being courted to play the titular character's creator/father, Geppetto. However, we do know that Zemeckis and Weitz will be working from a previous draft of the script written by Paddington 2's Simon Farnaby.

Credit: Disney

Based on the 1940 animated feature of the same name, Pinocchio tells the story of a wooden puppet that dreams of becoming a real boy. A notorious liar, Pinocchio's nose famously grows in length whenever he tells a fib. With some help from his "conscience," a cricket named Jiminy Cricket, he'll learn what it takes to be human. Being one of the pioneers behind motion-capture technology in Hollywood, Zemeckis is certainly a good choice for this movie, which will most likely utilize plenty of CGI for characters like Jiminy Cricket and Monstro, the whale.

News of Zemeckis' attachment to Pinocchio arrives the same day that Disney announced it was planning a live-action remake of 1942's Bambi. Zemeckis's next big-screen release is a remake of Roald Dahl's The Witches for Warner Bros. That project arrives in theaters Oct. 9.

Guillermo del Toro is working on a stop-motion and musical Pinocchio film at Netflix.

Our anaconda don't want none unless you've got a big-screen reboot in the works from screenwriter Evan Daugherty.

Per The Hollywood Reporter, the well-established genre scribe, known for such projects as Tomb Raider and Snow White and the Huntsman, has been tapped by Columbia to pen a brand-new Anaconda movie. Described as "a re-imagining," THR writes that the studio hopes to "take a Meg-style approach to the concept" of a body-crushing, man-eating snake. Not a bad idea when you consider that The Meg (which already has a sequel in the works at Warner Bros.) chomped on half a billion dollars at the worldwide box office.

The Anaconda horror franchise launched in 1997 with the first entry from director Luis Llosa.

Featuring an all-star cast of Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Eric Stoltz, Jonathan Hyde, Owen Wilson, and Danny Trejo, the movie grossed over $130 million against a $45 million budget. Lopez played Terri Flores, the leader of a documentary film crew shooting in the Amazon rainforest. Their plans to find and film a native tribe go absolutely haywire when a giant hungry snake and an insane poacher looking for said reptile (Voight) enter the picture. 

Despite rather negative reviews from critics, the campy — albeit enjoyable — creature feature was a bona fide box-office success and spawned four sequels, one of which was a crossover with Lake PlacidAnacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004) was the only follow-up in the series to be widely released in theaters. The next three all aired on SYFY. A 2014 book and several video games between 1997 and 2008 were also inspired by the original film.

After that major black hole publicity stunt that took the entire Fortnite universe offline for an extended period of time, Epic Games is ready to roll out Chapter 2 - Season 2 of the hit battle royale title on Thursday, Feb. 20.

The developer's official announcement was highly redacted, reading:

"Chapter 2 - Season 2 is now expected to launch Thursday, February 20. Chapter 2 - Season 2 will feature ... with multiple ... We can’t brief you on all of next Season’s secrets just yet..."

Credit: Epic Games

The game will also undergo a pretty extensive update in early February that switches the graphics over to Unreal Engine’s Chaos physics system. 

"At launch, the goal is to ensure that Fortnite still feels like Fortnite," says the announcement. "Along the way there will be some bumps, so we’re starting tests with a small group of players. We’ll also closely monitor feedback and make improvements over time."

As if all this weren't enough, it looks like the game, which previously played around with the famous comic book denizens of Gotham City, is going to roll out a crossover promotion in honor of Warner Bros.' Birds of Prey film (in theaters Feb. 7).

"See you soon, Harley," wrote the game's Twitter account in reply to a short video of the movie's cast members.