Iron Man 3 is the 5th highest grossing film in history worldwide, but Robert Downey Jr. will be trading in his Marvel Universe Iron Man persona for one of a wooden boy (and possibly his father) when he stars in a live-action adaptation of Pinocchio.
Warner Bros. had initially been in talks with Tim Burton (Alice In Wonderland, Dark Shadows, Frankenweenie) to direct the Pinocchio project. When Robert Downey Jr. was approached to play the Pinocchio character he said he would only be interested if it was live-action. He didn’t want to resort to any form of animation. Tim Burton’s signature Gothic style may have been a deciding factor, and he was dropped from consideration.
Downey Jr. wished upon a star, personally requesting his friend Ben Stiller to helm the project. According to IGN his wish came true, and pre-production is underway with Ben Stiller as director.
Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. have good chemistry working together. Stiller wrote, directed, and starred in Tropic Thunder, which garnered Downey Jr. a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role as Kirk Lazarus (he lost to Heath Ledger). Both men are presently busy finishing up other projects and obligations.
Ben Stiller is in post-production on the adaptation of James Thurber’s short story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Stiller directs and stars in the film which has just been chosen to make its world premiere at the 51st New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center, September 27. Academy Award winner Sean Penn (Mystic River, Milk), Kirsten Wiig (Bridesmaids), and Patton Oswalt (Young Adult), are all co-stars in the film, which is already getting Oscar buzz.
Robert Downey Jr. is still working on his current film The Judge with Robert Duvall and Vincent D’Orofino. He is slated to begin filming Avengers 2 in early 2014, so filming for Pinocchio is expected to start next summer.
Pinocchio is being called a passion project for Downey Jr. He has mentioned via social media that they are planning to do much of the filming in Itlay, with talk of Downey Jr. playing a younger Gepetto as well as Pinocchio in the film.