Robert Downey Jr. wished upon a star for Ben Stiller to direct his upcoming adaptation of “Pinocchio,” and it looks like it’s coming true: Stiller is in talks with studio Warner Bros. to helm the feature.
Negotiations to secure Stiller are in early stages, according to Deadline, though discussions with writers who could pen the project are reportedly already taking place. Downey, who will play Geppetto, was originally supposed to star in the feature for director Tim Burton, who had just come off a successful adaptation of another Disney classic, “Alice in Wonderland.”
Burton eventually left the project, and during recent press junkets promoting “Iron Man 3,” Downey was asked who he would like to see direct “Pinocchio” in Burton’s stead. Downey suggested Stiller, setting the ball rolling for the current negotiations. The pair previously worked together on Stiller’s “Tropic Thunder.”
The adaptation will stray from Downey and Burton’s original vision for the film, which was to focus on Geppetto going on a quest to find his missing marionette. Details of the new concept have not been revealed, but the replacement story has reportedly been greenlit by Warner Bros.
“I was just thinking about Geppetto as a cross between Jake LaMotta and Chico Marx,” Downey said in a recent interview. “It’s such a vital story, but it’s really about this working-class weirdo who invests this inanimate object with all of the qualities he doesn’t have. I’m just crazy about the idea…. To me a wooden boy is a real boy who doesn’t feel like he’s acknowledged.”