In my humble view, one of the May’s more intriguing news items would have to be the announcement that, by 2014, Guillermo del Toro would take the plunge into animation with Pinocchio, a Jim Henson Company-based, stop-motion version of the classic tale co-helmed by Mark Gustafson (Fantastic Mr. Fox).
del Toro, via video conference, spoke to a group of buyers at Cannes, telling the curious parties about his ambitious plans. This, despite the fact that Pinocchio is currently in what can best be described as “pre-pre-production,” a period that only has the more basic points laid out — for instance, 3D. The use is not a big surprise — and something a good deal of people will be hesitant about — but del Toro at least wants his film to appear as though “it bleeds out into the audience at the edges.” Here, my rule stands: If a great filmmaker wants to use 3D, they’ll get the benefit of the doubt.
The rest is still tentative, though Daniel Radcliffe reportedly approached del Toro to try and “get involved in the project,” while Tom Waits and Christopher Walken are on his own wish list, with the latter being eyed to play a fox. Is there anything about any of that casting we can look at and object to? Radcliffe might want to move past the fantasy and supernatural realm already, sure, but Waits and Walken could be tons of fun; that’s exactly what I’m anticipating from this movie in the first place.
You can read del Toro‘s prior comments on the project below:
“There has to be darkness in any fairy tale or children’s narrative work, something the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson and Walt Disney understood. We tend to call something Disney-fied, but a lot of people forget how powerfully disturbing the best animated Disney movies are, including those kids being turned into donkeys in Pinocchio. What we’re trying to do is present a Pinocchio that is more faithful to the take that Colodi wrote. That is more surreal and slightly darker than what we’ve seen before. The Blue Fairy is really a dead girl’s spirit. Pinocchio has strange moments of lucid dreaming bordering on hallucinations, with black rabbits. The sperm whale that swallows Pinocchio was actually a giant dogfish, which allows for more classical scale and design. The many mishaps Pinocchio goes through include several near-death close calls, a lot more harrowing moments. The key with this is not making any of it feel gratuitous, because the story is integrated with moments of comedy and beauty. He’s one of the great characters, whose purity and innocence allows him to survive in this bleak landscape of robbers and thugs, emerging from the darkness with his soul intact.”
Do you think Pinocchio sounds promising?