Disney’s Live-Action ‘Pinocchio’ Reportedly Loses ‘Paddington’ Director

Disney’s live-action Pinocchio re-imagining lost Paddington director Paul King over the holidays, according to cinematographer Seamus McGarvey.

“I don’t think it’s a secret anymore, but the film has been cancelled over the holidays, over Christmas,” McGarvey told Discussing Film.

“The director basically pulled out of the film, for um, family reasons. Disney are trying to find a new director, but yeah, I read those reports that Tom Hanks and all those other people, but yeah, they’re trying to get it going.”

In November, Forrest Gump and Toy Story star Tom Hanks was reported to be in early talks for the role of Geppetto, the fatherly toymaker whose wish is granted when his wooden puppet creation is brought to life by the magical Blue Fairy.

King took over directorial duties from Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Spectre), who himself exited the project in November 2017. Neither King nor Disney have yet to confirm the Paddington 2 filmmaker’s exit.

He would have directed from his script co-written by Paddington screenwriter Simon Farnaby. King and Farnaby boarded the project with a script in place by Chris Weitz, who previously scripted live-action fairy tale Cinderella and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story for the studio.

The next filmmaker tapped to pull the strings on Pinocchio will join the cache of big-name talent recruited to transform Disney’s most beloved animated classics into modern blockbusters for the big screen, joining Tim Burton (Alice in Wonderland, Dumbo), Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book, The Lion King), Guy Ritchie (Aladdin), Kenneth Branagh (Cinderella), Bill Condon (Beauty and the Beast), Niki Caro (Mulan) and Rob Marshall (The Little Mermaid).

Also in the works at the studio are live-action spins on Lilo & Stitch, coming from The LEGO Movie producer Dan Lin and Aladdin producer Jonathan Eirich, with plans to revisit The Sword in the Stone and Peter Pan in live-action.

The Amazing Spider-Man star Emma Stone has long been attached to headline Cruella — an offshoot centered around 101 Dalmatians’ famed fur-wearing villainess — under director Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya).

Other projects include Maleficent 2, again starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning, The Jungle Book 2, and fresh spins on James and the Giant Peach and Tinkerbell, all in varying stages of development.

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More films inspired by the Carlo Collodi fairy tale now in development include a stop-motion project written, produced and directed by Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, The Shape of Water) for Netflix, and a long-gestating project at Warner Bros. that would star Avengers’ Robert Downey Jr. as Geppetto.

McGarvey previously shot 2012’s The Avengers and 2014’s Godzilla, as well as 2017’s The Greatest Showman and last year’s Bad Times at the El Royale.