EXCLUSIVE: After earning an Oscar nomination for playing Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Tom Hanks is zeroing in on another children’s favorite. We are hearing that he is in early negotiations to play Geppetto in Disney and Robert Zemeckis’ live-action retelling of Pinocchio.
Although insiders say negotiations are very early, we hear that after reading the script, Hanks has reached out to Zemeckis to let him know he wants to do the film. Disney has always longed for Hanks to play the woodcarver, having approached him years ago when Paul King was attached to direct. That deal was never made, but given Hanks and Zemeckis’ long-standing relationship going back to when they both won Oscars for their work on Forrest Gump, this seems more likely to move forward.
Zemeckis will direct the film with Andrew Miano and Chris Weitz producing through their company Depth of Field, with Weitz and Zemeckis penning the script.
The 1940 Disney animated classic tells the tale of a living puppet who, with the help of a cricket as his conscience, must prove himself worthy to become a real boy.
Disney continues to see its live-action adaptation strategy as a major part of its pipeline, with last year’s Aladdin and The Lion King both crossing the billion-dollar milestone.
The film marks the fourth collaboration between Hanks and Zemeckis after Forrest Gump, Cast Away and the Christmas classic The Polar Express.
Hanks is still filming the Elvis Presley biopic at Warner Bros, which had to halt production after he and his wife, Rita Wilson, fell ill with COVID-19. They have since recovered and the studio is hoping to start production again in the fall in Australia. He was most recently seen in the World War II pic Greyhound, which premiered on Apple TV + and shattered viewing records for the streamer following its release.
He is repped by CAA.