By MICHAEL GINGOLD
The prospect of Guillermo del Toro tackling one of the darker children’s fantasies has always been a hugely promising one, and now the filmmaker’s lifelong passion project, being produced by Netflix, has revealed its ensemble.
Netflix has announced that newcomer Gregory Mann will voice the title role in the stop-motion animated musical, with Ewan McGregor (DOCTOR SLEEP) as Cricket and David Bradley (GAME OF THRONES) as Geppetto. The sterling ensemble also includes Tilda Swinton, Christoph Waltz, Finn Wolfhard (STRANGER THINGS), Cate Blanchett, John Turturro, del Toro regular Ron Perlman, Tim Blake Nelson and Burn Gorman. According to the official synopsis, this PINOCCHIO “follows the extraordinary journey of a wooden boy magically brought to life by a father’s wish. Set during the rise of Fascism in Mussolini’s Italy, del Toro’s PINOCCHIO is a story of love and disobedience as Pinocchio struggles to live up to his father’s expectations.”
Del Toro is directing the movie with Mark Gustafson (FANTASTIC MR. FOX), and scripted it with Patrick McHale. The song lyrics are by del Toro and Katz, with music by Oscar-winner Alexandre Desplat, who will also write the score. Gris Grimly designed Pinocchio for the film, whose puppets were created by Mackinnon and Saunders (CORPSE BRIDE). Produced by del Toro, The Jim Henson Company’s Lisa Henson, ShadowMachine’s Alex Bulkley and Corey Campodonico and Exile Entertainment’s Gary Ungar, the film began production last fall at ShadowMachine’s Portland, Oregon studio, and it has continued uninterrupted during the pandemic. PINOCCHIO will play both in theaters and on Netflix.
“After years of pursuing this dream project, I found my perfect partner in Netflix,” del Toro says. “We have spent a long time curating a remarkable cast and crew and have been blessed by continuous support from Netflix to quietly and carefully soldier on, barely missing a beat. We all love and practice animation with great passion and believe it to be the ideal medium to retell this classic story in a completely new way.” We can’t wait!