Sam Mendes leaves Disney's live action Pinocchio

Wednesday, 15 Nov, 2017

What exactly motivated Mendes, the Oscar-winning director behind films like American Beauty, to depart from the movie is now unknown, which is only made more complicated when considering the fact that Mendes left Disney's live-action James and the Giant Peach to join Pinocchio earlier this year.

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.

Director Sam Mendes poses on stage during an event to mark the start of production for the new James Bond film "Spectre", at Pinewood Studios in Iver Heath December 4, 2014.

Why bring on a new director when Craig's 2019 outing is his fifth and final?

Mendes came to the Pinocchio project having previously discussed a live-action adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel James and the Giant Peach. The studio's Maleficent also fared well the year before, telling the story of Sleeping Beauty from the titular villain's perspective.

Going into a busy year-end holiday season, "Beauty and the Beast" (2017, $1.2bn) is the year's highest-grossing movie, and the highest-grossing live action adaptation of all time. Jon Favreau's Lion King movie will hit theaters on July 19, 2019, while Tim Burton's Dumbo movie and Guy Ritchie's movie musical Aladdin are now filming.

After all with Bond 25 rumoured to be called Shatterhand, this would be three 007 movies in a row for Mendes beginning with the letter S, following Skyfall and Spectre.