Director Guillermo del Toro is currently basking in a wealth of positive reviews for his latest movie The Shape of Water, but apparently he’s still having no luck getting one of his most personal projects off the ground. Currently at the Venice Film Festival, the Mexican filmmaker spoke to journalists about his hopes for the stop-motion version of Pinocchio, which he still wants to make.
The filmmaker has had a long relationship with the more fantastic side of cinema, from his earlier horror films like Cronos and The Devil’s Backbone, to the big studio films like Pacific Rim and Hellboy. He always seems to have a full schedule of projects that are just on the cusp of being made, with some making it to the screen, whilst others are inevitably put on hold or eventually cancelled. Only recently it was announced by Fox that del Toro’s updated version of Fantastic Voyage has been delayed for a significant amount of time, whilst the director completed other projects.
However it was while speaking to an audience at the festival, that Indiewire reported del Toro discussing forthcoming projects other than the film he was currently promoting. At one point the director spoke bluntly about the problems he was having getting the backing for his intended spin on the tale of the puppet, saying:
“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.”
As indicated there, del Toro’s intended take on Pinocchio should not be confused with the live-action Disney version currently sitting with Sam Mendes. If made, del Toro’s film will be entirely stop-motion animated and be a subversive telling of the story, taking place against the backdrop of the rise of the Italian dictator. It wouldn’t be the first time that the filmmaker has mixed fairy-tales with an anti-fascist message, as his award-winning Pan’s Labyrinth did something very similar.
If it does reach the production stage, it will be del Toro’s second venture into animation after his television series Trollhunters. It will be unfortunate if the intriguing sounding project doesn’t get a green-light soon, as it was reported earlier this year that he had landed writer Patrick McHale to help craft the screenplay. However, with The Shape of Water currently impressing at festival runs, maybe that will be the impetus for a studio to step in and make this long gestating version of Pinocchio a reality.
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