Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion Pinocchio movie is no longer moving forward. The acclaimed filmmaker originally announced plans to develop a 3D, stop-motion animated Pinocchio film in 2008, based on Gris Grimly’s art of Carlo Collodi’s famed 1883 novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio. The idea was to tell a much darker version of Collodi’s iconic story and not directly adapt the novel nor paint a rosier picture as Disney’s 1940 animated film had previously done.
Del Toro’s project has been in various stages of development over the past decade, with the filmmaker at one point partnering with the Jim Henson Company to produce the film. In 2012, del Toro agreed to co-direct the movie alongside Mark Gustafson (Fantastic Mr. Fox) in addition to penning the screenplay. However, the biggest hurdle the film faced – which happens to be quite a common occurrence for the director – was financing. Del Toro needed an estimated $35 million to make Pinocchio and no studio or production company was willing to foot the bill for his passion project. And it seems del Toro has finally let the film go.
In an interview with IGN for the upcoming season of Trollhunters, del Toro revealed that his stop-motion Pinocchio movie is no longer moving forward. He said: “It’s not happening. But the idea was to do Pinocchio during the ascension of fascism in Italy, with Mussolini. It was a good time to discuss the idea of being a puppet or being a human, but you know, it’s not in progress.”
The news of Pinocchio‘s cancellation comes on the heels of del Toro announcing plans to take a year off from directing following the release of his latest passion project, The Shape of Water. What’s more, the decision to officially shelve the project comes mere months after del Toro said he still plans on making the movie. Unfortunately, studios weren’t interested in his plan to focus on the rise of Italian fascism.
The filmmaker has a history of shepherding several small but intriguing projects, such as his Beauty and the Beast adaptation, before eventually moving on to something else, something that Hollywood studios are willing to green light, such as Crimson Peak and The Shape of Water. Considering that the latter film is garnering high praise and that del Toro already has plans to helm Fantastic Voyage when he returns, it’s possible that either or both films’ success could inspire him to give Pinocchio another shot – but it may be a while before that happens, if it does at all.