Diving deeper into the world of fantasy following his Oscar-winning amphibian romance The Shape of Water, Mexican cinematic wizard Guillermo del Toro is finally making one of his long-awaited passion projects: Pinocchio. This new feature will mark the director’s debut in animation and, as Variety reports, Netflix —the all-powerful streaming service that is bringing Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma to screens later this year —will produce it.
Del Toro’s version of Pinocchio will be realized in stop-motion, the animation technique that involves physical puppets and sets photographed frame-by-frame to create the illusion of movement. It has been in the works, at least conceptually, for a long time. The movie was first announced back in 2012, but wound up in limbo after deals with other companies fell apart. Now, with Netflix’s seemingly endless resources, the auteur is finally on track to see it come to fruition.
Loyal to his interest of adding political context to genre storytelling, del Toro’s interpretation of the fairytale will be set against the backdrop of 1930s Italy, as ruthless leader Benito Mussolini dragged the European country into fascism. As with all of his works, a touch of darkness and intricate thematic layers promise to make this reimagining a more daring take than what Disney offered almost 80 years ago.
Netflix and del Toro previously joined forces for the animated series Trollhunters, which he produced based on his own book series co-written by Daniel Kraus. The filmmaker has always being vocal about his love for the animation medium, and its narrative possibilities; Pinocchio will allow him to put his spin on a classic tale on a major platform. Mark Gustafson (Fantastic Mr. Fox) will serve as co-director, while Patrick McHale (who was behind the Cartoon Network show Over The Garden Wall) will co-write the screenplay with del Toro.
There is no release date set for this magical new project, but production starts this fall. Considering how much time it takes to conceive a stop-motion project, it’ll likely be a few years before we get to see it. The wait, however, will almost certainly be worth it.