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Guillermo del Toro, Nick Cave, and Jim Henson Co. Team For Dark ‘Pinocchio’; ‘Madness’ Shooting In May

Written by on February 17, 2011 

It was reported all the way back in November 2008 that Guillermo del Toro and The Jim Henson Company were developing a “perverse, spooky and semi-necrophilia” 3D stop-motion version of Pinocchio. We hadn’t heard anything about the project, but Deadline now confirms that Pathe has jumped on board and Gris Grimly, who illustrated a 2002 book of Carlo Colodi‘s fairytale, will co-direct with Mark Gustafson.

The story, “aimed at an audience 10 years and up,” was “hatched by Del Toro and Matthew Robbins. Robbins, who has worked with Del Toro on Mimic, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, and At the Mountains of Madness, has written the script. In even better news, composer/artist Nick Cave will be a “music consultant.”

Heading up the puppet and 3D elements is McKinnon and Saunders, who worked on The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and his upcoming Frankenweenie. Del Toro spoke about what to expect 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.”

Pinocchio production will begin later this year, but this report also comes with the news that Del Toro and James Cameron‘s At The Mountains of Madness is just two weeks away from the green light decision from Universal Pictures. Del Toro stated “we are doing very intense prep work, we’ve shown Universal tests, designs and they are very very happy. I hope to start this as soon as possible, by May. This long process has been a blessing, because we’ve had two years of full pre-production. I have gotten to be involved in every meeting and key decision, during part of The Hobbit process and post-Hobbit.”

What do you think about a dark Pinocchio from Del Toro and At The Mountains of Madness possibly starting production in May?

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