Guillermo del Toro
is set to write, produce and direct a new stop-motion, musical adaptation of the classic Pinocchio for Netflix, per THR.
The forthcoming Pinocchio adaptation marks del Toro’s first announced project as director since the 2017 film The Shape of Water, for which he won the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars, as well as his first stint helming an animated film. The latest project also continues his ongoing working relationship with Netflix, for which he has created the beloved animated series Trollhunters, as well as his forthcoming horror anthology series, Guillermo del Toro Presents 10 After Midnight.
Del Toro, who has a well-established reputation for unrealized passion projects, has been working since the early 2000s on his Pinocchio take, for which he now has a home at Netflix.
“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,” he said in a statement.
The film will be a stop-motion musical adaptation of Pinocchio set during the rise of fascism in Mussolini-era Italy.
“In our story, Pinocchio is an innocent soul with an uncaring father who gets lost in a world he cannot comprehend,” del Toro added. “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.”
Del Toro has also brought a few animation vets on board to help realize his first animated film.
Patrick McHale, creator of animated miniseries Over the Garden Wall and writer on Adventure Time, will co-write with del Toro, while Fantastic Mr. Fox animation director Mark Gustafson will co-direct. Frequent del Toro collaborator Guy Davis will serve as co-production designer, taking inspiration from character designs by children’s book artist Gris Grimly, whose work appeared on an edition of the original 1883 Italian novel published in the early 2000s. The film’s puppets will be built by Mackinnon & Saunders, an animation studio that has worked on acclaimed stop-motion titles including Fantastic Mr. Fox and Corpse Bride.
Del Toro will produce with Jim Henson Company president Lisa Henson, as well as ShadowMachine’s Alex Bulkley, Corey Campodonico and Gary Ungar of Exile Entertainment.
Given how long stop-motion animation takes to produce, it’ll be some time before we can expect del Toro’s Pinocchio, although we know that it will compete with Disney’s live-action remake of its 1940 animation classic, which will be directed by Paddington’s Paul King.
Production on del Toro’s Pinocchio begins this fall.