Tom Hanks, hot off of the “Elvis” Cannes premiere, leads Disney+’s live-action “Pinocchio” remake, streaming September 8 as part of Disney+ Day. Hanks plays Geppetto, the puppeteer who wishes for a son. Cynthia Erivo stars as the Blue Fairy who grants Geppetto’s wish and turns puppet Pinocchio into a real boy, voiced by 13-year-old Benjamin Evan Ainsworth. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the animated narrator Jiminy Cricket. Lorraine Bracco, Luke Evans, and Keegan-Michael Key also star. Watch the first teaser for the film below.
Based on the 1883 Italian book by Carlo Collodi and 1940 Disney movie, the live-action “Pinocchio” has been in development since 2015. While a slew of writers and directors once attached to the project — including “Paddington” helmer Paul King — longtime Hanks collaborator Robert Zemeckis took over directing duties. The “Back to the Future” and “Polar Express” scribe co-writes the script alongside “Wonka” screenwriter Simon Farnaby and 2015’s “Cinderella” writer Chris Weitz.
The teaser trailer marks the first major change for the live-action “Pinocchio”: the Blue Fairy sings the famous ballad “When You Wish Upon a Star,” a tune that originally belonged to Jiminy Cricket. Showing off Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award winner Erivo’s voice, who plays the Blue Fairy, is a no-brainer for the film, with Erivo donning the Blue Fairy makeup before later going green as Elphaba for Universal Pictures’ “Wicked.”
As for Disney+’s “Pinocchio,” the film is not to be confused with Netflix’s “Pinocchio” adaptation led by Guillermo del Toro. The stop-motion animated feature will premiere in December 2022, and stars David Bradley as Geppetto. Ewan McGregor voices Sebastian J. Cricket, the narrator of the fantastical tale. Newcomer Gregory Mann is the titular “real boy” Pinocchio, with Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, John Turturro, Ron Perlman, Tim Blake Nelson, Burn Gorman, Christoph Waltz, and Tilda Swinton rounding out the ensemble cast.
Long a mainstream director pushing the visual vanguard in Hollywood storytelling, Zemeckis embraces more live-action here than in recent, CG-dominated family folk tales like “The Polar Express” and “Christmas Carol.” He most recently brought another live-action film based on a children’s story to Disney+ with “The Witches,” released in 2020 and based on Roald Dahl’s novel.
Check out the teaser trailer for Disney+’s “Pinocchio” below.
“Pinocchio” premieres September 8 on Disney+.