Paul Thomas Anderson Is Writing A Live-Action Pinocchio Movie Starring Robert Downey Jr.

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Live-action retellings of classic stories are all the rage – Maleficent, Wicked, Pan, Tink, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella (twice), Jungle Book, etc. – but I never expected to see Paul Thomas Anderson involved with one. Yet here he is in today’s Hollywood Reporter, attached to write (“with an eye to direct”!) Pinocchio, starring Robert Downey Jr., for Warner Bros.

Though the film would seem far outside of Anderson’s wheelhouse, the move shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Downey was poised to star in Anderson’s Inherent Vice until his Avengers: Age of Ultron obligations got in the way and Joaquin Phoenix stepped in to play the lead. Downey and Anderson are good friends and have been looking to work together for some time.

The Giver writer Michael Mitnick penned the latest draft of Pinocchio, and Downey has been quietly tweaking the script for the past six months. Downey has been developing Pinocchio for years, but the project has found new urgency in the wake of a string of live-action hits based on kids’ classics, most recently Disney’s Cinderella. [THR]

I love Robert Downey Jr., but Inherent Vice would NOT have been a good fit. As for Pinocchio, I’m generally against gritty reimaginings of classic fairy tales and such, but Pinocchio was always kind of dark. That’s the one where they go to the weird island with all the donkeys who smoke the cigars, right? Or smoking the cigars turns them into donkeys? Basically I remember that there were donkeys and cigars.

Anyway, no word yet on who Robert Downey Jr. might play, but since he’s a 50-year-old man and not a young boy, I’m guessing Geppetto. I hope he plays him like an old-timey Italian stereotype too. “Pinocchio, don’t you-a tella Geppetto a-no lies! Anna you stay-em away-a from-a them-a donkeys! You come-a home a-smella like-a di cigarro, Geppetto guana turn-a you into the a-rolling pin!” (*Geppetto grabs his crotch for some reason*)