Guillermo Del Toro will be taking on a stop-motion, musical version of Pinocchio for Netflix. The Academy Award-winning director has been eying a Pinocchio movie since the early 2000s, but the project was previously shelved as Del Toro focused on other projects. He’s set to write, produce and direct this take on Pinocchio.
In 2012, Del Toro spoke to Entertainment Weekly about his vision of Pinocchio, one set during the rise of fascism in Italy and dealing with more complex, darker elements. He mentioned the big influences that both Pinocchio and Frankenstein have had on him and compared the two tales.
“They are both about creatures that are created and then get lost in a world they don’t understand. And they are both journeys of understanding, and journeys of evolution of the spirit,” said Del Toro.
Del Toro has executive produced many animated feature films, such as The Book of Life and Puss in Boots, and served as creator and executive producer of Netflix’s Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia (of which he also wrote and directed the first episode). Trollhunters spawned two other series under the Tales of Arcadia branch: 3 Below, which releases later this year, and Wizards, which comes out in 2019. Pinocchio will be Del Toro’s first feature-length animated project.
Guy Davis, a comic artist who has done concept artwork for Del Toro before (most notably on Crimson Peak and Pacific Rim), will be co-production designer, taking inspiration from artist Gris Grimly’s version. Del Toro originally eyed Grimly to direct the project and the artist has been involved since the beginning. Now attached to co-direct is Fantastic Mr. Fox director Mark Gustafson.
Patrick McHale, known for his work on Over the Garden Wall and Adventure Time, will co-write the script. Also attached to the project are Mackinnon and Saunders, the puppet production company behind Corpse Bride, as well as The Jim Henson Company and ShadowMachine (Bojack Horseman).
“No art form has influenced my life and my work more than animation and no single character in history has had as deep of a personal connection to me as Pinocchio,” said Del Torro in a press release. “I’ve wanted to make this movie for as long as I can remember.”
Production on Del Toro’s Pinocchio will begin this fall.