Disney’s live-action train will roll on, but director Sam Mendes won’t be on board. While the company seeks to build off the success of their live-action adaptations of their classic films such as The Jungle Book and Beauty And The Beast, they will have to search for another director for their adaptation of Pinocchio, as the American Beauty and Skyfall director has dropped out.
Mendes was originally attached to direct James And The Giant Peach before dropping out of that and choosing Pinocchio, but that has now fallen through. Disney will now search for a new name to helm the film, from a script written by Chris Weitz (Rogue One).
The more immediate question that comes to mind might be a little more intriguing: is Mendes leaving Pinocchio to direct Bond 25? Having already helmed the acclaimed Skyfall and the average-at-best Spectre, it seemed the Bond franchise was ready to move into a new direction, but could Mendes return to complete his trilogy?
Sources say Mendes’ exit isn’t linked to another directing gig, but with the shortlist of potential Bond directors gaining traction, with names such as David Mackenzie (Hell Or High Water) and Yann Demange (’71) being talked about, and a name soon to be picked since the distribution deal between Annapurna Pictures and MGM is about to close, Mendes’ name could enter to conversation again.
As for Disney, losing Mendes won’t make them panic. They’ve still got names like Tim Burton, Guy Ritchie and Jon Favreau signed on to direct Dumbo, Aladdin and The Lion King, respectively, so it’s very likely they’ll be able to replace Mendes with an equally high-profile director.