AceShowbiz - Oscar winner Roberto Benigni has been cast to portray Geppetto in a new live-action adaptation of "Pinocchio (2019/I)".
Matteo Garrone is directing a new take on the puppet who becomes a real boy, and Benigni will play the woodcarver who creates him in the new adaptation of Carlo Collodi's classic, which the filmmaker wrote.
He will also serve as a producer through his Archimede Films company.
Production is slated to begin in Italy next year (19) and Garrone is thrilled he is able to get to work on realising his lifelong dream of making the movie.
"Filming 'Pinocchio' and directing Roberto Benigni are two dreams come true in one film," he says. "Collodi's puppet and I have been chasing each other since I was a child, drawing my first storyboards. As years passed, I have always felt something familiar in the story, as if 'Pinocchio' had penetrated my imagination to such an extent that many have found traces of his adventures in my previous films."
"Also with Roberto it's a chase that started many years ago: I met him as a child, thanks to my father (theatre critic Nico Garrone)," he adds. "It's an extraordinary chance for me to have the opportunity of finally working together with Roberto..."
This isn't the first time Roberto has tackled the "Pinocchio" story - in 2002, he wrote, directed and starred as the titular character in his own film.
"A great character, a great story, a great director: playing Geppetto directed by Matteo Garrone is one of the forms of happiness," Roberto adds.
The news comes days after Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro announced he is teaming with Netflix bosses to make his animated feature film directing debut on a revamped "Pinocchio". Filming will begin later this year and the director is co-writing the script with Patrick McHale. He will also produce the stop-motion musical version of the children's story.