Netflix Green Lights Guillermo Del Toro’s Stop-Motion Pinocchio Film

by Tito W. James

Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio has found a home as a direct to Netflix film. Del Toro has been trying to produce the stop-motion film for over a decade but was stymied by risk adverse animation companies. The main point of creative contention was that Del Toro’s Pinocchio would take place during the rise of fascism in Italy and comment on the idea of being manipulated like a puppet.
Despite clear anti-fascist allegories in franchises like Star Wars and Harry Potter, most animation studios felt that Del Toro’s story was too dark for a “kids film.”

Fortunately, with his most recent film, The Shape of Water, Del Toro has proven that fantasy films about non-human characters can tell some of the most human stories. Over The Garden Wall creator Patrick McHale, will be co-writing the script with Del Toro and Mark Gustafson (Fantastic Mr. Fox) will be co-directing. In a statement, Del Toro outlined his vision for the film:

No art form has influenced my life and my work more than animation and no single character in history has had as deep of a personal connection to me as Pinocchio…
In our story, Pinocchio is an innocent soul with an uncaring father who gets lost in a world he cannot comprehend. He embarks on an extraordinary journey that leaves him with a deep understanding of his father and the real world.

This version of Pinocchio excites me because it’s not just another live-action/CGI reboot that banks on nostalgia. This film is returning to the darker source material for inspiration while also updating the story to be relevant to a contemporary audience.

This is what Netflix should be doing–delivering material that you can’t see anywhere else. Whether it’s a TV channel or a streaming platform, there is a point of view reflected in the content broadcasters choose to air. By choosing a film like Del Toro’s Pinocchio, Netflix is making a statement that it is willing to develop mature animated content.
Netflix will start production on Pinocchio this Fall.

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