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Guillermo del Toro finds a cast for his stop-motion Pinocchio at Netflix

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Ewan McGregor hops on board as the Cricket

Guillermo del Toro sits with Pinocchio puppet in his workshop for Netflix movie Photo: mandraketheblack.de/NETFLIX

Guillermo del Toro’s long-imagined, never-realized take on Pinocchio is finally going to be a real boy.

Netflix announced on Wednesday the full cast for the stop-motion-animated feature film, which will draw on Carlo Collodi’s stories from the late 19th century. Lined up for the feature are Ewan McGregor (Birds of Prey) as Cricket, David Bradley (Game of Thrones) as Geppetto, and newcomer Gregory Mann as the puppet who comes to life. Rounding out the cast are Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton), Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds), Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things), Cate Blanchett, John Turturro (Barton Fink), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Tim Blake Nelson (Watchmen), Burn Gorman (The Dark Knight Rises).

“After years of pursuing this dream project, I found my perfect partner in Netflix,” del Toro said in the news release. “We have spent a long time curating a remarkable cast and crew and have been blessed by continuous support from Netflix to quietly and carefully soldier on, barely missing a beat. We all love and practice animation with great passion and believe it to be the ideal medium to retell this classic story in a completely new way.”

Set during the rise of fascism in Mussolini’s Italy, del Toro’s film is a musical take on the material that promises to be “a story of love and disobedience as Pinocchio struggles to live up to his father’s expectations.”

To accomplish his dream project, the Academy Award-winning director teamed up with Patrick McHale (Over the Garden Wall) for the script and animator Mark Gustafson (Fantastic Mr. Fox), who will co-direct the feature. The film’s song lyrics are by del Toro and Katz, with music provided by composer Alexandre Desplat (The Shape of Water). Illustrator Gris Grimly, who first worked with del Toro in 2012 to conceive the visuals of the film, is credited with the original design for the Pinocchio character. The film’s puppets come from Mackinnon and Saunders (Corpse Bride), while Jim Henson Company’s Lisa Henson is on board as a producer.

Principal photography on Pinocchio began last fall, and as Netflix notes, the work wasn’t interrupted by the pandemic. While no release date accompanied news of the cast, the streaming service promised that the film would debut in theaters and on Netflix in the future.