Ever since Disney realized it was more profitable to do live-action redos of their animated classics than to simply re-release them, they’ve been plowing through the back catalogue. (With exceptions, of course. You probably won’t be seeing any Br’er Rabbit from Song of the South anytime soon.) Next on the chopping block: Pinocchio, which hits Disney+ in September, but until then you can peep what its main flesh-and-blood star looks like.
That person is Tom Hanks, who reunites with his Forrest Gump and Cast Away director Robert Zemeckis to bring the studio’s second-ever feature-length movie to new, hybrid life. It’s just a still image, showing the legendary actor as Geppetto, the lonely woodcarver, buried underneath a helping heap of white hair and a fuzzy mustache.
It’s Hanks as we’ve never seen him, but perhaps more shocking is the little wooden boy himself. Instead of a realistic doll (who, eventually, can speak), he looks just like the Disney cartoon version of Carlo Collodi’s creation, with the same big saucer eyes, round features, and bright complexion. It appears Disney will try to bring an 80-year-old-plus animated design into the real (or at least digital) world.
When first released in 1940, Disney’s original Pinocchio was not the success that was their debut feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, three years prior. While far from a bomb, it underperformed, possibly thanks to the grim national mood due to the overseas war America would soon be drawn into. Its fate has changed dramatically over the decades, and the mind reels imagining what Zemeckis, a lover of the macabre, will do with the already nightmarish “Pleasure Island” section — to say nothing of the year’s other splashy (albeit stop-motion) Pinocchio adaptation co-directed by Guillermo del Toro.
You can see Hanks as Geppetto above. His version of Pinocchio hits Disney+ in September.