Sam Mendes Exits Disney’s Live-Action “Pinocchio” (Exclusive)

Pinocchio Sam Mendes

Oscar-winning filmmaker has dropped out of directing Disney’s live-action Pinocchio, the Tracking Board has exclusively learned.

Back in May, Mendes was reportedly in “early talks” to direct the project, which was written by Chris Weitz, who is also producing via his Depth of Field banner.

Mendes’ exit represents a setback for Pinocchio, but Disney shouldn’t have a hard time finding a replacement, as the studio’s live-action adaptations of its animated classics have lured big names such as Jon Favreau, Tim Burton and Guy Ritchie. Meanwhile, Bill Condon recently steered Beauty and the Beast to a worldwide gross of $1.2 billion.

Mendes won an Oscar for American Beauty and most recently directed the James Bond films Skyfall and Spectre. The next James Bond movie, which is widely expected to be Daniel Craig’s last, still doesn’t have a director. With Denis Villeneuve busy with Dune, Yann Demange is believed to be the frontrunner for the coveted gig, but now that Mendes has a hole in his schedule, I wonder if he could re-team with Craig one more time so they could ride off into the sunset together.

Right now, sources are saying that Mendes’ exit from Pinocchio isn’t linked to Bond 25, but never say never in this town. Stay tuned…

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