Paul King of Paddington to direct Pinocchio

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Paul King, director of the highly praised Paddington films, is Walt Disney Studios’ pick for its upcoming live-action reimagining of Pinocchio.

This comes off the heels of recent news attaching King as director to a developing project promising a new take on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novelCharlie and the Chocolate Factory. The film was first announced by Warner Bros. in 2016 and would reunite King with Paddington and Paddington 2 producer David Heyman.

As for Pinocchio, director Sam Mendes was originally slated to direct but has since left the project, while Peter Hedges and Chris Weitz previously worked on the script. Now Weitz is also producing alongside Andrew Miano while Jack Thorne, writer of critical hit Wonder, is rewriting the script.

This sounds like great news, given King’s track record of family-friendly comedy fare that has resonated with more cynical adult audiences and bringing beloved fictional children’s literature to the big screen. I mean, this would bring it up to two. The story of Pinocchio, a wooden boy puppet crafted by an old carver named Geppetto, is about his being brought to life with the promise that an act of bravery will make him a real boy. With Jiminy Cricket acting as his conscience, there to steer him in the right direction, Pinocchio embarks on a series of adventures that explore the depths of humanity in various kid-friendly ways.

Pinocchio as a film adaptation has a long and lively history. The 1940’s Pinocchio was Disney’s second animated feature after 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a reimagining of the children’s novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Italian writer Carlo Collodi that is still esteemed to this day. With the influx of reboots and retellings, many of Disney’s own doing, it’s difficult not see this new take as another opportunity for Disney to cash in on another well-known story much like Alice In Wonderland, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Maleficent, and most recently Beauty and the Beast.

Just when I thought we only need be apprehensive about the upcoming live-action remake of Aladdin, here comes Disney out of left field with another property in its pocket. Let’s hope King can work his Paddington magic and direct a real movie out of this one!