I’m (Nearly) A Real Boy! Del Toro Gets Green Light From Netflix To Direct Pinocchio Remake
Grow Talk by Sofy Robertson
Well, it sure has been a month for Disney lovers. Just last week, Grow Talk reported on the up-coming release of the live-action remake of Aladdin and now, Disney fans, Netflix has backed plans for a new Pinocchio film.
Making his animated feature directorial debut will be Guillermo del Toro, who has just won an Oscar for The Shape of Water (2017). The film will be a stop-motion musical version of the classic children’s tale. Not satisfied with merely directing the film, del Toro will also write and produce it.
Set in Italy during the 1930s, the film will portray a particularly fraught historical period when fascism was on the rise and Benito Mussolini was consolidating his control over the country. This echoes del Toro’s previous directorial work as both The Devil’s Backbone (2001) and Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) were set against totalitarian backdrops, albeit in Franco’s Spain.
The film is due to start production this Autumn. Speaking about his upcoming animation debut, del Toro said:
“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.” (Variety)
This could be the role of a lifetime for del Toro due to this deep connection not only with the genre but with the character of Pinocchio itself.
This is not the first collaboration between Netflix and del Toro; he worked with the media giants on the series Trollhunters (2016-18) as well as creating the Netflix horror anthology Guillermo del Toro Presents 10 After Midnight.
The timing of Netflix’s decision to back del Toro’s project follows their move to invest heavily in children’s entertainment, no doubt vying with Disney’s upcoming move to start its own streaming service.
Now, hold on to your hats, film fans, because this film venture just got even more exciting. The Pinocchio project will be in collaboration with the Jim Henson Company, who brought us timeless classics such as The Dark Crystal (1982) and Labyrinth (1986).
The film holds a huge amount of promise as in addition to the powerhouses of del Toro and the Jim Henson Company, Mark Gustafson (Fantastic Mr Fox 2009) will co-direct and Mackinnon and Saunders (The Corpse Bride 2005) will build the film’s puppets. If that bit of name baiting doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will.
So what will del Toro’s vision hold for one of our Disney favourites? Judging by his film repertoire to date, it will be a story that is very differently told from the original. But who wants just another copy of a copy? Del Toro has so far kept his ideas fairly close to his chest, but he did disclose a little titbit about his reimagining to whet our appetites:
“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.”
All I have left to say is bring on the trailer!