While Guillermo del Toro continues prep work on his forthcoming live-action feature Frankenstein for Netflix, with Andrew Garfield, Oscar Isaac, and Mia Goth attached, the director is coming off his Oscar-winning animation Pinocchio and it’s a form of storytelling we can expect him to solely move into in the future. “There are a couple more live-action movies I want to do but not many,” he said while at Annecy animation festival earlier this week. “After that, I only want to do animation. That’s the plan.”
As THR reports, the Mexican filmmaker didn’t mince words when it comes to how he thinks the studio animation system needs to change. “I believe you can make an adult fantasy drama with stop-motion and move people emotionally. I think stop-motion can be intravenous, it can go straight to your emotions in a way that no other medium can,” he said. “The three hits of Spider-Verse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mario are moving things, allowing a little more latitude, but there are still big fights to be had,” he added. “Animation to me is the purest form of art, and it’s been kidnapped by a bunch of hoodlums. We have to rescue it. [And] I think that we can Trojan-horse a lot of good shit into the animation world.”
Getting more specific, he went on to detail what he despises about certain lazy proclivities in commercial animation, notably how characters and emotions are “codified into a sort of teenage rom-com, almost emoji-style behavior.” He added, “[If] I see a character raising his fucking eyebrow, or crossing his arms, having a sassy pose — oh, I hate that shit. [Why] does everything act as if they’re in a sitcom? I think it is emotional pornography. All the families are happy and sassy and quick, everyone has a one-liner. Well, my dad was boring. I was boring. Everybody in my family was boring. We had no one-liners. We’re all fucked up. That’s what I want to see animated. I would love to see real life in animation. I actually think it’s urgent. think it’s urgent to see real life in animation.”
In terms of what the director may tackle next in the world of animation, he’s developing a stop-motion animation adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2015 novel The Buried Giant. We also got an update on an intriguing forthcoming animation. Charlie Kaufman has written the new animated feature Orion and the Dark, directed by Sean Charmatz, and ahead of a 2024 release by Netflix, the first look at the DreamWorks Animation production has arrived. See below along with the synopsis:
Orion seems a lot like your average elementary school kid – shy, unassuming, harboring a secret crush. But underneath his seemingly normal exterior, Orion is a ball of adolescent anxiety, completely consumed by irrational fears of bees, dogs, the ocean, cell phone waves, murderous gutter clowns, and even falling off of a cliff. But of all his fears, the thing he’s the most afraid of is what he confronts on a nightly basis: the dark. So when the literal embodiment of his worst fear pays a visit, Dark whisks Orion away on a roller coaster ride around the world to prove there is nothing to be afraid of in the night. As the unlikely pair grows closer, Orion must decide if he can learn to accept the unknown – to stop letting fear control his life and finally embrace the joy of living.