Nearly two decades out from his first film, and the viewing public hasn’t gotten any closer to answering the philosophical quandary of what, exactly, a Sam Mendes film is. He’s hopped from an accented dramedy about suburban malaise to a grim-and-gritty graphic novel adaptation to an off-kilter war drama to a pair of coolly-received literary adaptations to James freakin’ Bond. The most effective method of predicting the subject of a new directorial outing from Mendes involves dartboards, tea leaves, and cloud-reading, and this week’s announcement of a new project for the esteemed Brit helmer adds yet another baffling left turn to his eclectic oeuvre.

Deadline has the exclusive that Mendes has entered ‘early talks’ to direct Disney’s live-action adaptation of classic Italian fable Pinocchio. Mendes was previously attached to a rework of Roald Dahl’s kids’ book James and the Giant Peach, but should he put pen to paper on this contract, he would jump ship from one youth-oriented property to another. Mendes has recently busied himself in his home of the theatrical world, but the Pinocchio gig would represent his third foray into blockbuster-dom, the entertainment industry’s polar opposite. While the specific details of Mendes’ Pinocchio contract have not been divulged, we may all safely assume that there will be strings attached.

This represents the latest step forward in Disney’s total live-action overhaul, accompanying percolating treatments for The Little MermaidAladdinCruella de Vil, The Lion King, and MulanWhat’s more, these projects live and die by their directors. So what if Sam Mendes is an unexpected fit for Pinocchio? Get Haifaa Al-Mansour for Cruella de Vil. Get Baltasar Kormákur for The Little Mermaid! Mix it up and live a little, Disney!

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