The latest news on the live action version of Pinocchio that Warner Bros. is producing is that the studio is hoping Tim Burton will direct with Robert Downey, Jr. starring as Gepetto, who is searching for his missing puppet brought to some form of life. The screenplay is by Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller who, in this exclusive interview, offers up some tantalizing hints on what audiences can expect from the film.
THE FAIRY TALE SITE: What made you want to get involved with this retelling of the Pinocchio fairy tale?
BRYAN FULLER: Not only is Pinocchio one of the most emotional fairy tales, it’s also one of the creepiest.
THE FAIRY TALE SITE: In what way is it one of the creepiest?
BRYAN FULLER: I find the Land of Play sequence where Pinocchio and the boys are transformed into donkeys and sold into hard labor to be truly scary. If you look back to the original Carlo Collodi story, it’s full of really subversive moments. It’s a strange tale.
THE FAIRY TALE SITE: What do you think is the appeal of the story of Pinocchio and is it one that you think offers a “message” for the modern audience?
BRYAN FULLER: I think the message of “stranger danger” still holds true for Pinocchio, but it is at its heart a fantastical adventure about identity — how we define ourselves, how others define us and what ultimately we wish we could be.
THE FAIRY TALE SITE: Is the challenge of creating a live action version of this fairy tale exciting or daunting?
BRYAN FULLER: There are so many iconic set pieces and characters to play with, it’s terrifically exciting. It’s exactly why I love writing. Of course I love the exciting set pieces — the Marionette Theater, the Land of Play and of course Gepetto’s rescue from the belly of a big fish — but if what’s happening between Gepetto and Pinocchio doesn’t connect emotionally, you won’t care about any of it.
THE FAIRY TALE SITE: Are there any hints you can give me about this version? Obviously we all know the basic story, but is there anything about the tone or aspect of this version of the character you can share?
BRYAN FULLER: The Blue Fairy is the villain.
THE FAIRY TALE SITE: Hmm, intriguing. As a character, how do you look at Pinocchio?
BRYAN FULLER: Pinocchio is a very naughty boy — or knotty, as the case may be. This version of Pinocchio will be a more mischievous character than we’ve seen him portrayed in the past. He’s both a rascal and a romantic.
THE FAIRY TALE SITE: Opinion: there seems to be a bunch of classic fairy tales in development as feature films. What role do you think Alice in Wonderland is playing in that and WHY are these stories suddenly seen as film fodder?BRYAN FULLER: Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland was so successful because it made good on all of the iconography of the original Disney classic. It gave the audience all the memorable moments and characters they came to see but with a twist or expansion that made those characters and moments wholly fresh again. It creates a sort of mash-up aesthetic to these modern fairy tale re-tellings that can be a sentimental experience for both adults and children when it connects.