During a recent interview with Variety, Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro opened up more about the process of making his stop-motion animated version of Pinocchio and explained how children have evolved over the years to appreciate more complex stories like his and in general.
Del Toro explained that he had some prerequisites before going into production on the film. First, he wanted to make his movie without a single suggestion from studio executives during the process. “I said we have to make this movie without a single, f—ing studio note,” he said.
Second, he didn’t want to preview the film for audiences – a step studios take to get a sense of what scenes they might have to revisit (and possibly reshoot) depending on audience opinion. “I [didn’t] want to preview it to [anybody],” he said. “[I didn’t want a] sucker couple in Tarzana telling me that their kid may be scared of [it].
Del Toro said that not getting studio executive notes and not previewing the film for audiences was something they promised to the creative team before they started shooting. “It liberated them to try their best,” he said. “There’s nothing more disheartening for an animator than creating a beautiful sequence [and] then it has to be reshot because somebody said, ‘Oh, my kid.’ Imagine every f—ing kid that will not like it.”
He suggested that a parent who thinks Pinocchio is too dark or too scary for their child is the “type of parent who wants a movie to be a babysitter for two hours.” And that these parents, “want to childproof all the outlets in the f—king world.”
“Kids are far more complex than the soccer parents give them credit for,” del Toro added. “Kids are thankful when you give them the pieces to understand the real world, not when you take it from them because things might be tough.”
He added: “Normally the kids they think about in studios are skateboarding kids in suburbia, but a kid now is Greta Thunberg. A kid now knows that the doomsday clock is ticking. They know we have destroyed ecology. They know we have destroyed society. They know everything that is going wrong. So, they appreciate an explanation.”