Disney's Live-Action 'Pinocchio' Casts Cynthia Erivo as the Blue Fairy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jiminy Cricket
3rd March 2021

Disney might have wished upon a star to land the cast it got for the live-action Pinocchio remake. Joining a cast led by Tom Hanks as the toy maker Gepetto are Cynthia Erivo and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who are adding their star power to the Robert Zemeckis-directed live-action/CGI hybrid film.

The Wrap broke the news that Cynthia Erivo and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have been tapped to star in Disney’s live-action Pinocchio remake, both taking on the roles of two Disney icons. Erivo will be playing the Blue Fairy, who grants Gepetto’s wish to turn his wooden puppet into a boy, while Gordon-Levitt puts on a top hat (presumably) to play Jiminy Cricket, the talking cricket who acts as Pinocchio’s conscience. The pair join the already-cast Tom Hanks, who was the first to join the cast as Geppetto, and Luke Evans, who plays the hot child-abducting coachman.

But what of the little wooden boy himself, you might ask? The Wrap also reports that Benjamin Evan Ainsworth (Flora and Ulysses) has been cast as the voice of the title character Pinocchio, confirming that the puppet will be created in CGI, or least using heavy visual effects. Keegan-Michael Key has also been cast as the voice of Honest John, while Lorraine Bracco is playing the voice of a new character, Sofia the Seagull.

Zemeckis is directing co-writing the script of Pinocchio with Chris Weitz, who wrote the 2015 Cinderella remake starring Lily James and was one of the writers of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Weitz will also produce with Andrew Miano. Based on the Disney 1940 animated classic, the live-action remake will be heading straight to Disney+, presumably because it’s one of the remakes that garners less interest than a remake of one of the beloved Disney Renaissance films of the ’90s.

It’s not a complete shame that it’s being rather unceremoniously dropped on Disney+, however, because the Pinocchio remake has all the makings of becoming another ill-advised experiment from Zemeckis. The director of such films as Welcome to Marwen and The Witches has developed a reputation as of late in putting technology before the rest of the film, using the projects to play with new developments in motion-capture or CGI, to the detriment of the stories. With Pinocchio set to be a live-action/CGI hybrid, I imagine it will be much of the same.

Pinocchio will begin production next month in the U.K. and will debut on Disney+.  Miano and Weitz are producing through their company Depth of Field along with Zemeckis’ Imagemovers.

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