If a new version of “Pinocchio” involving Guillermo Del Toro sounds familiar, well, that’s because it is. The project has been kicking around since 2008, and just over a year ago it was announced that the ever busy helmer would produce, with Gris Grimly and animation director of “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” Mark Gustafson, co-helming the film. Well, it looks like Del Toro can’t keep his hands off the movie, and has decided to replace Grimly with himself and take on the co-director’s chair.
“Little by little, I realized that I should direct,” Del Toro told Variety, and while he’s very much indebted to Disney’s 1940 animated classic, he’s taking it in a different direction. Based on Grimly’s 2002 book of the tale, Del Toro explained last year, “the Blue Fairy is really a dead girl’s spirit. Pinocchio has strange moments of lucid dreaming bordering on hallucinations, with black rabbits. The sperm whale that swallows Pinocchio was actually a giant dogfish, which allows for more classical scale and design. The many mishaps Pinocchio goes through include several near-death close calls, a lot more harrowing moments. The key with this is not making any of it feel gratuitous, because the story is integrated with moments of comedy and beauty. He’s one of the great characters, whose purity and innocence allows him to survive in this bleak landscape of robbers and thugs, emerging from the darkness with his soul intact.”
So yeah, not yr grandma’s movie for sure.
And in case you’re wondering, Nick Cave, who has hired as a music consultant a while back, is still on board. Awesome. And this one is moving fast, and will be Del Toro’s next gig after he wraps up his sci-fi epic “Pacific Rim.” The plan is to start shooting in the summer of 2013, with one year of production scheduled for what will apparently be a complex undertaking. We presume this means Gustafson’s recently announced “Goblins” for Laika will go to the backburner for now (unless they somehow crank it out fast, though we don’t see that happening). Either way, this is a pretty nice gig for Del Toro to make his animated feature debut on and will surely help put the loss of “At The Mountains Of Madness” behind him.