Of all the dozens upon dozens of projects that director Guillermo del Toro has signed aboard over the years yet languished in development hell, no film has languished more thoroughly than Pinocchio. It was way, way back in 2008 when he announced his intention to make a movie based on artist Gris Grimly’s illustrations from a 2002 publication of Carlo Collodi’s 1883 Italian fantasy novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio. Now, 14 years later, del Toro’s movie will finally become a reality, thanks to Netflix, and this first teaser is the proof.
It’s not a long teaser—really, it’s just a quick message from Sebastian J. Cricket (voiced by Ewan McGregor) and the film’s logo—but it’s enough to 1) get a sense of the gorgeous art style and stop-motion animation that will be used, and 2) prove that yes, this movie is truly in the process of not just being made, but actually releasing at some point. Behold:
The Cricket’s assertion that “it’s a story you may think you know, but you don’t” is unquestionably a jab at Walt Disney’s beloved yet highly sanitized 1940 adaptation of Pinocchio, which has usurped the much darker original story (the puppet actually kills the Cricket early on in the book, and its ghost serves as Pinocchio’s conscience). Still, del Toro’s version—which also be a musical, by the way—will supposedly be darker still, as it’s set during the Fascist regime of 1930s Italy, or as del Toro put it to the Italian website Arthive, “When everyone was behaving like a puppet, except for puppets.” As Ron Perlman, who plays the puppetmaster Mangiafuoco, revealed, Pinocchio will even become a child soldier.
Currently scheduled to premiere this December on Netflix, del Toro’s Pinocchio will also star David Bradley as Gepetto, Tilda Swinton as the Fairy, and Christoph Waltz as the Fox and the Cat (I’m not sure how that’s going to work), as well as Cate Blanchett, Tim Blake Nelson, John Turturro, Finn Wolfhard, and more. Newcomer Gregory Mann will voice the titular puppet.
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