Between The Lion King, Aladdin, Mulan, and more, it’s pretty much become expected that every beloved Disney classic originally created as an animated feature will soon be slated for a live-action remake. Such a remake for the classic Pinocchio is on the way, and superstar Tom Hanks has joined the film as the titular puppet’s maker and father, Geppetto. Today, we have the first image of Hanks in the role as he examines his creation.
As reported by Deadline, Disney+ released the image for public consumption Wednesday. The shot shows Tom Hanks surveying his work with what appears to be a bit of craftsman’s — and perhaps fatherly — pride. You can see the image below, along with a shot from the original 1940 Pinocchio.
Tom Hanks is playing the character originally voiced by Christian Rub in the 1940 film. While that version wasn’t live-action, Rub does visually appear in a sense, because the physical design of the 1940 Geppetto was based on Rub. The actor was born in Austria, which is why — in spite of having a name of Italian origin — his character speaks with an Austrian accent.
An impressive cast joins Tom Hanks in the new version of Pinocchio. Lorraine Bracco (Goodfellas) plays a brand new character, Sofia the Seagull. The deceitful “Honest” John is played by Keegan Michael Key (Keanu), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception) is the iconic Jiminy Cricket, and Cynthia Erivo (Bad Times at the El Royale) voices the Blue Fairy. Benjamin Evan Ainsworth (The Haunting of Bly Manor) provides the voice of the titular puppet.
Want a sentence you never expected to read? Okay, here you go. This year delivers a crowded market for Pinocchio remakes. While it’s come to be associated with Disney, the story is based on the 1881 Italian children’s novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, meaning as much as they might like to be, neither Disney nor Tom Hanks are the only puppet masters who get to construct their own Pinocchio. Netflix has their own stop-motion version of Pinocchio on the way, directed by Guillermo del Toro (Nightmare Alley) and Mark Gustafson (Claymation Easter).
Of course, for legal reasons Netflix’s Pinocchio will have some significant differences. Instead of Gordon-Levitt’s Jiminy Cricket there will be Ewan McGregor voicing Sebastian J. Cricket. Sofia the Seagull will not be in attendance. Rather than Tom Hanks, the Netflix Geppetto will be voiced by David Bradley, famous for playing Walder Frey — one of Game of Thrones‘ most reviled villains. Imagine that. Disney got an actor associated with heartwarming comedies and dramas to play Geppetto, and for the same role Netflix got the guy who started the Red Wedding. Does it feel like someone lost a bet?
Netflix’s Pinocchio is expected in December of this year, while the Disney+ version doesn’t have as tight of a release window yet. Disney+’s Pinocchio will be directed by Robert Zemeckis, who directed Tom Hanks in the 1994 Oscar magnet Forrest Gump as well all as the films in the Back to the Future trilogy.