By William Keck
It was one wonderful “Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee” surprise after another at Wednesday night’s colorful Pinocchiopremiere held on The Walt Disney Studios’ lot in Burbank, California. The first news that made everyone as peppy as a puppet was that the blazing heat wave necessitated relocating the red carpet arrivals inside Soundstage 2.
Though he was not expected to attend, Tom Hanks—the film’s kindly Geppetto—sent a bevy of shocked super fans (many costumed as puppets, crickets, and fairies) into an uproar when the two-time Oscar® winner arrived with his wife, Rita Wilson.
Celebrating her role as a beautifully reimagined Blue Fairy, Cynthia Erivo sported long, bedazzled green-hued fingernails, while Luke Evans (the Coachman), sporting a dashing gray pin-striped double-breasted suit, shared his love of the fairy tale with D23 on the red carpet.
Others in attendance included director Robert Zemeckis and actor Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, whose chipper voice brings the titular boy puppet to life. Zemeckis told D23 he wanted to “keep the spirit and the tone of the original movie,” while finding a way to “modernize the storytelling a little bit and add some new characters.” At the end of the red carpet, the stars intermingled with the fans as they all made their way into the theater, grabbing up ice cream sandwiches, churros, popcorn, pretzels, cotton candy, and about everything else an overindulgent child might find in Pleasure Island. A true Disney fan dream come true—with no strings attached!
View a gallery from the premiere event, below.