Pinocchio: this is Guillermo del Toro’s version of the classic tale

“The two fables that defined my childhood and adolescence were Pinocchio and Frankenstein,” Mexican director Guillermo del Toro told Collider . That relationship between father and son, the universality of the story and the reflection of human frailty are some of the characteristics of Pinocchio that marked the life of the Oscar winner.

Hence, reinterpreting the traditional story created by the Italian Carlo Collodi in 1882 consisted of a pending dream for Guillermo del Toro. The possibility of having your own version of one of the most widely read works of universal literature -translated into 250 languages ​​and dialects, including the Braille system- came from Netflix.

“After years of pursuing this dream project, I found my perfect partner in Netflix. We have spent a lot of time curating an extraordinary cast and crew and have been blessed with the continued support of Netflix to move forward quietly and carefully, never missing a beat. We all love and practice animation with a great passion and believe it is the ideal medium to retell this classic story in a whole new way,” Del Toro said at Netflix’s Tudum Global Event.

The new story of Pinocchio

For this adaptation, Guillermo del Toro worked in the direction along with Mark Gustafson. The duo set the story of the famous wooden puppet magically brought to life during the rise of fascism in Mussolini’s Italy in the 1930s. Pinocchio will arrive to mend the heart of a grieving woodcarver named Geppetto.

However, it is expected that Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio will turn out to be a disobedient young man, who causes mischief and bad times for his creator. This without losing the essence of the story: a story of love and disobedience while Pinocchio tries to live up to his father’s expectations.

The cast

Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson brought together great talents for the original English voices of this adaptation. Young actor Gregory Mann will be the voice of Pinocchio, while Ewan McGregor ( Trainspotting ) is Jiminy Cricket and David Bradley ( Harry Potter ) is Geppetto.

Joining the team were Finn Wolfhard ( Stranger Things ) as Moth, Oscar winner Cate Blanchett ( The Aviator ) as the monkey Sprezzatura, John Turturro ( Transformers ) as the voice of Master Cherry, Christoph Waltz ( Inglourious Basterds ) as the fox and Tilda Swinton ( Memory ) as the blue fairy.

The work of stop motion

Guillermo del Toro’s feature film, in addition to being a musical, immerses itself in the timeless art of stop motion . This timeless animation technique consists of pretending the movement of static objects through a series of successive images.

For this reason, the Netflix Pinocchio movie involves a painstaking process of craftsmanship to create each character and imitate a simple action, like a monkey jumping down a flight of stairs, for hours. 

“I really wanted this film to land in a way that had the expressiveness and material nature of a piece of hand-drawn animation, a beautiful handcrafted exercise in carving, painting and sculpture,” Del Toro explains. “But it also has the sophistication of movement that puppet-making and research has led us to.”

Pinocchio release date

This project, which reflects Guillermo del Toro’s lifelong passion, will hit the Netflix streaming platform -and some movie theaters around the world- on December 9, at 3:00 am in Colombia.

Production work on the film began last fall at ShadowMachine’s studio in Portland, Oregon, and production has continued without interruption due to the pandemic.