Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro has found a home for a passion project many may not know he had: The accomplished filmmaker has reached a deal with Netflix to develop a stop-motion musical version of iconic book-turned-Disney-film Pinocchio.
The film will be the first animated project ever directed by del Toro, who has experience producing animated features such as Puss in Boots, Book of Life, and Megamind, among others.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
It may be his first time in the director’s chair without any humans (apart from voice actors) to direct, but we have a hard time imagining that del Toro will struggle. The acclaimed filmmaker has long been considered a visionary for his ability to create complex, other-worldly characters and bring them to life on screen. Films like Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, and The Shape of Water have all been hailed by critics for their astonishing ability to bring humanity to the inhuman, with the latter garnering del Toro the Oscar for Best Director.
The choice to sign with Netflix can’t have been too difficult for del Toro; the animated TV series he produces, called Trollhunters, is also released by the streaming giant, and he’s also working on a Netflix-exclusive series called Guillermo del Toro Presents 10 After Midnight.
“Throughout his distinguished career, Guillermo has exhibited mastery in inspiring people through his magical worlds filled with unforgettable and magnificent characters, from the monsters in Pan’s Labyrinth to the aquatic beast in The Shape of Water,” Melissa Cobb, Netflix’s head of kids and family content, said in a statement. “We are incredibly excited to expand our relationship with Guillermo and we know that his deeply touching vision for bringing Pinocchio to life on Netflix will be embraced by audiences the world over.”
Del Toro has surrounded himself with some heavy-hitters for this one. The film will be co-written by Patrick McHale, who has experience writing for Adventure Time, and co-directed by Mark Gustafson, who is well-known in the animation industry for his stop-motion work on projects like The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Production is set to begin this fall.