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Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Pinocchio’ Isn’t Dead Yet, But He Needs $35 Million to Make It

The director has been ready to make "Pinocchio" for the last decade, but production won't start until he can get the budget.

Guillermo Del Toro

Guillermo Del Toro

Laura Antonelli/REX/Shutterstock

Guillermo del Toro is riding high off the acclaimed world premiere of his latest movie, “The Shape of Water,” at the Venice Film Festival, but he spent some of the press conference looking ahead at some of the other projects he’s got waiting in development. One movie is his ambitious adaptation of “Pinocchio,” which del Toro said he’s been trying to make for the last 10 years.

“Pinocchio,” as envisioned by del Toro, won’t be the charming Disney fairy tale most viewers love. The director is planning a stop-motion reimagining set during the rise of Mussolini. Del Toro admits that making an anti-fascist “Pinocchio” was always going to be a struggle to get funded, even if he already has the puppets and designs ready to go. He told reporters the following at Venice:

I’ve been looking for financing for almost ten years. We have the puppets, we have the design. I always or almost always complicate my life. None of the movies I want to do are easy. And they don’t belong to anything anyone wanted to do at that time. No one wanted to do superheroes when I did “Hellboy,” no one wanted to do monsters when I did “Pacific Rim.” When I announced “Pinocchio” I got many calls: “Yeah but it’s set during the rise of Mussolini, it’s an anti-fascist Pinocchio.” [mimes they all hung up] If you have $35 million and if you want to make a Mexican happy, here I am.

Del Toro just can’t get the funding necessary to pull off his vision, so the project will have to wait for now to be made. Perhaps the acclaim and potential awards run of “The Shape of Water” will give a studio enough of an incentive to trust del Toro’s vision. The director announced earlier this year he was bringing on “Over the Garden Wall” creator Patrick McHale to help draft the latest iteration of the screenplay. The movie would be his second foray into animation after the Netflix television series “Trollhunter.”

Audiences will get to see del Toro back on the big screen when “The Shape of Water” opens in theaters December 8. IndieWire gave the movie an A review out of Venice, calling it one of the director’s most stunningly successful works to date.

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