Production on Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio” stop-motion musical is farther along than some might think. During a video interview with ACE Comic-Con, Ewan McGregor revealed he’s already recorded the majority of his dialogue for the project. Del Toro’s voice cast includes McGregor, Ron Perlman, Tilda Swinton, Christoph Waltz, and David Bradley. McGregor revealed he is voicing The Talking Cricket (aka Jiminy Cricket), and from the sound of it he’s already done recording dialogue and only has a song or two left to perform.
“I had started working on [that] before I left for New York. So some of that is recorded,” McGregor said about del Toro’s film. “And of course, it’s stop-frame animation, so it’s going to take them a great long time to make that film. But my first part of that, which is recording his dialogue, is sorta done. There may or may not be a song that needs to be recorded. I’m not sure I’m at liberty to discuss that.”
Oscar-winning composer Alexandre Desplat is handling the music for del Toro’s “Pinocchio,” and he told IndieWire last month that del Toro’s stop-motion is looking “beautiful.” It makes sense McGregor only has a song left to record as Desplat has been writing music in quarantine.
“It was really nice to be able to write songs for him,” Desplat said. “I wrote a lot of songs in France between 1985 and 2004 when I started doing movies in America, but after that I never had the opportunity. So this is a great film for me because there were seven or eight songs to write — it’s very difficult, but it helps when you have actors who can sing.”
“Pinocchio” has been a longtime passion project for del Toro, who also has the live-action drama “Nightmare Alley” in development. Del Toro was in the middle of shooting “Alley” with Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, and Rooney Mara when the pandemic suspended the production indefinitely. There’s no update on how far along del Toro is on the stop-motion work for “Pinocchio,” but there’s clearly a good chunk of dialogue already recorded (at least for McGregor). Dialogue is often recorded first in stop-motion filmmaking so that the animation can precisely match the words as they’re spoken.
“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,” del Toro said about “Pinocchio” in 2018 when it was announced Netflix was taking on the project . “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. I’ve wanted to make this movie for as long as I can remember.”
Netflix has not yet announced a release date for “Pinocchio.”