Beauty and the Beast star Luke Evans has joined Tom Hanks in Disney's upcoming live action remake of their cherished animated classic, Pinocchio. Evans will play The Coachman, one of the movie's many notable villains, who makes a living by luring children to Pleasure Island, where they are transformed into donkeys and sold on the black market.
Luke Evans could not be further away from the animated character physically, with The Coachman depicted as a short and stout, white-haired man. It's unlikely that Evans will undergo a Christian Bale-esque transformation for the movie, meaning that the live action Pinocchio will be making some substantial changes from its animated predecessor. Boardwalk Empire star Stephen Graham was recently rumored to be in consideration for the role, but clearly the studio saw something in Evans that has won him the role of The Coachman, who has been described as "a sinister, shadowy figure who is notorious for luring little boys to Pleasure Island where they are transformed into donkeys."
The live action take on Pinocchio is set to be directed by Robert Zemeckis, who is best known for such silver screen classics as Back to the Future and Forrest Gump. Zemeckis will be working alongside Andrew Miano and Chris Weitz who are producing through their company Depth of Field, with Weitz and Zemeckis penning the script. Alongside Evans, the only other cast member confirmed so far is Tom Hanks, with the beloved actor set to play the kindly woodcarver Geppetto.
Released back in 1940, Disney's original animated Pinocchio tells the story of Geppetto, a lonely woodcarver who shapes a wooden puppet named Pinocchio. The puppet is later brought to life by a blue fairy, who informs him that he can become a real boy if he proves himself to be "brave, truthful, and unselfish." Pinocchio embarks on an adventure that he is not prepared for, experiencing the dark side of the world, all the while assisted by Jimmy Cricket, his assigned conscience. Much like the rest of the Disney live action slate, the upcoming adaptation is expected to follow a very similar storyline, with a few changes made along the way.
It's unclear when Pinocchio will begin filming, and the movie does not yet have a release date. Interestingly, Disney's live action remake is not the only adaptation on the horizon, with Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro currently working on a stop-motion animated musical version of Pinocchio for Netflix which is expected to debut sometime in 2021.
As for Luke Evans, he is slowly becoming something of a Disney staple. Following on from his role as Gaston in 2017's Beauty and the Beast, the actor is set to reprise the role in the Gaston and LeFou prequel series on Disney+. The currently untiled series will be comprised of six episodes of live-action musical entertainment, with Beauty and the Beast star Josh Gad also set to reprise his role alongside Evans. Since the show's announcement, Gad has taken to social media to assure prequel sceptics that there is nothing to worry about, and that the series would be well worth it. "Luke and I will perform the sizzle live for you all. Don't worry. Right @TheRealLukevans? #BeautyAndTheBeastPrequel," he wrote. This comes to us courtesy of Deadline.