Roughly a year ago, Guillermo del Toro lamented that his long-gestating passion project, a dark, stop-motion version of Pinocchio, was kaput. Sounding dejected, he told IGN “it’s not happening.” He continued, “But the idea was to do Pinocchio during the ascension of fascism in Italy, with Mussolini. It was a good time to discuss the idea of being a puppet or being a human, but you know, it’s not in progress.”
Unsurprisingly, that’s all changed since The Shape Of Water director took home a few shiny statuettes earlier this year. Deadline now reports that del Toro has inked a deal with Netflix for the project, which he’ll co-direct alongside Fantastic Mr. Fox’s Mark Gustafson. As his above statement suggests, the film, which will also be a musical, will be set in Italy during the 1930s.
The script, which he co-wrote with Adventure Time’s Patrick McHale, is already done, and the design will be directly inspired by Gris Grimly’s work on Carlo Collodi’s 1883 novel The Adventures of Pinocchio. Also, if you needed further proof that this will be a starker take on the material, the film’s puppets are being built by the same crew behind Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. Production begins this fall.
“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,” del Toro said. “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.”
It sounds great. Just don’t have Pinocchio fuck the whale, okay?