Del Toro On Status Of Animated “Pinocchio”

Guillermo del Toro’s Cold War-era romantic fantasy tale “The Shape of Water” may be getting rave reviews on the festival circuit this week, but that doesn’t mean the filmmaker still doesn’t hit hurdles from time to time in terms of getting projects made.

One such project he’s been developing for some time before it fell apart was a stop-motion animated “Pinocchio” feature which was going to co-direct along with author Gus Grimly and “Fantastic Mr. Fox” animation director Mark Gustafson.

Everything looked good – Daniel Radcliffe, Tom Waits, and Christopher Walken were being eyed for roles, and Nick Cave was to score the picture. However, it never took off, leading to speculation it was dead. Del Toro tells Indiewire that’s not the case, the film is waiting to go – they just need the money:

“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 has previously explained some interesting elements of the story such as the sperm whale that swallows Pinocchio is a giant dogfish here. There are borderline hallucinations involving black rabbits, and the Blue Fairy is really a dead girl’s spirit.

The project is not to be confused with the other “Pinocchio” projects in the works including the Sam Mendes-directed Disney project, and the Gepetto-focused tale with Robert Downey Jr. and Paul Thomas Anderson doing the script.