The Shape of Water and Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro has been trying to make his own version of the Pinocchio for a long time now. In fact, it’s a passion project he’s wanted to do his entire life.
Now del Toro is finally getting to make Pinocchio. And better yet, he gets to make it the way he’s been trying to make for years. A stop-motion animated feature inspired by Gris Grimly‘s illustrated version of the Carlo Collodi tale, made with the help of none other than The Jim Henson Company (though they won’t be making the puppets, that will be Mackinnon & Saunders). The film is happening at Netflix which makes all the sense in the world with del Toro behind Trollhunters and an upcoming horror anthology there, and The Jim Henson Company’s Dark Crystal project set up there. And the best part? It sounds like this one is ready to go with production expected to begin this fall.
Here’s the full announcement from Netflix:
Academy Award winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is making his animated feature film directorial debut at Netflix with his lifelong passion project, Pinocchio, which he will also write and produce as a stop motion musical. Pinocchio will be del Toro’s first feature film since The Shape of Water, which garnered four Academy Awards last year, including for Best Director and Best Picture.
Del Toro has set his retelling of the classic tale of Pinocchio in Italy during the 1930s. This marks an expansion of Netflix’s existing relationship with Guillermo del Toro, who created their Emmy award-winning television series DreamWorks’ Trollhunters, the first installment of the DreamWorks’ Tales of Arcadia trilogy. The next chapter, 3Below, is set to debut on December 21, 2018, followed by Wizards in 2019. He is also the creator of the upcoming Netflix series, Guillermo del Toro Presents 10 After Midnight.
Pinocchio is a production of Guillermo del Toro, The Jim Henson Company (The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance), and ShadowMachine (Bojack Horseman, The Shivering Truth), which will house the stop-motion animation production. Alongside del Toro, Lisa Henson, ShadowMachine’s Alex Bulkley, Corey Campodonico, and Gary Ungar of Exile Entertainment will produce. Blanca Lista will co-produce. Also alongside del Toro, Patrick McHale (Over The Garden Wall, Adventure Time) will co-write the script, Mark Gustafson (Fantastic Mr. Fox) will co-direct, and Guy Davis will serve as co-production designer, taking inspiration from Gris Grimly’s original design for the Pinocchio character. The film’s puppets will be built by Mackinnon and Saunders (Corpse Bride). Netflix expects production on Pinocchio to begin this fall.
Quote from Guillermo del Toro: “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. In our story, Pinocchio is an innocent soul with an uncaring father who gets lost in a world he cannot comprehend. He embarks on an extraordinary journey that leaves him with a deep understanding of his father and the real world. I’ve wanted to make this movie for as long as I can remember. After the incredible experience we have had on Trollhunters, I am grateful that the talented team at Netflix is giving me the opportunity of a lifetime to introduce audiences everywhere to my version of this strange puppet-turned-real-boy.”
Quote from Melissa Cobb, Vice President of Kids and Family at Netflix: “Throughout his distinguished career, Guillermo has exhibited mastery in inspiring people through his magical worlds filled with unforgettable and magnificent characters, from the monsters in Pan’s Labyrinth to the aquatic creature in The Shape of Water. We are incredibly excited to expand our relationship with Guillermo and we know that his deeply touching vision for bringing Pinocchio to life on Netflix will be embraced by audiences the world over.”
This isn’t the only Pinocchio project on the way, of course. The most famous adaptation of the story came in Disney’s classic 1940 animated feature, and they have a live-action remake of that currently in the works to go along with all of their other live-action remakes.
That movie has encountered some speed bumps, with director Sam Mendes departing the project at the end of last year. At the start of this year Disney replaced him with Paddington director Paul King with plans to begin production this fall before King eventually moves on to a new take on Willy Wonka.
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