First Look: Guillermo del Toro's 3D Stop-Motion 'Pinocchio' Movie
Its been over two years since we heard anything about Guillermo del Toro's new spin on the classic story of Pinocchio. The brilliant director revealed their collaboration on a stop-motion animated version of the story with The Jim Henson Company & Pathe back in 2008, but now Deadline reports the project is finally moving into production. Gris Grimly, who illustrated the 2002 take on the story, is directing with Mark Gustafson, and now we have a first look at a couple pieces of production art. This is both loyal to the dark illustrations from Grimly's book and to del Toro's signature visual style. Check out some of the art below!
Here's the two bits of production art courtesy of Deadline (click for larger versions):
Though the art looks rather twisted, apparently this version will still be aimed at audiences from 10-years old and up. However it will be a little edgier and scarier than the favorite 1940 Disney adaptation of the story. Del Toro commented on the project:
“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.”
In addition, rocker and composer Nick Cave has signed on as a music consultant, and McKinnon and Saunders (the team behind projects like Fantastic Mr. Fox and Corpse Bride) will be working on the stop-motion puppets and 3D elements of the film. Del Toro worked on the script about four years ago, but then came back in 2008 and spiced it up a bit. The director recalled, "I put that down to do Pan's Labyrinth and when Matthew and I came back to it in 2008, we added some great ideas that made it funnier and livelier, and we enlisted the aid of Nick Cave. For me, it was most important to find that voice and a big part of that is the music of the movie. But I could not make the time to direct it myself.”
Yes, del Toro had originally imagined directing the project after working with Matthew Robbins, a writer who has also worked with the director on Mimic, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark and the forthcoming At the Mountains of Madness. However, with his work on Madness, he's just too busy, but he is confident that the team in place to bring the story to life is the right one. He says, “We've designed key frames and characters, we know the mood and the feel, we've created a bible. Shooting stop motion animation takes a lot time, but we've got the right team and I will be there for daily or weekly updates on how it's going." Sounds good!