You've got to admire Guillermo Del Toro's ability to multitask. The Mexican writer, producer and director is infamous for having a number of creative projects in the works at any one time, and right now, right this second is no exception. In addition to preparing The Hobbit with director Peter Jackson and At The Mountains of Madness with producer James Cameron, Del Toro has just joined the Jim Henson Company and Pathé to produce Pinocchio, a 3D stop-motion animated adaption of the Carlo Collodi fairy tale that will be far "edgier" than the original 1940 Disney animated version.
Yes, you can go ahead and roll your eyes if you must -- it's another "darker" and "edgier" adaptation/remake/reboot of a classic film -- but if we can't have faith in the creative mind of Guillermo Del Toro, who can we believe in?
“There has to be darkness in any fairy tale or children’s narrative work, something the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson and Walt Disney understood,” Del Toro said. “We tend to call something Disney-fied, but a lot of people forget how powerfully disturbing the best animated Disney movies are, including those kids being turned into donkeys in Pinocchio. What we’re trying to do is present a Pinocchio that is more faithful to the take that Collodi wrote. That is more surreal and slightly darker than what we’ve seen before.”
Del Toro's Pinocchio was conceived with script-writer Matthew Robbins and inspired by storyteller Gris Grimly's unique vision of the classic Collodi fairytale, published in 2002. Grimly, a Los Angeles-based artist, will co-direct along with Mark Gustafson, the animation director for Wes Anderson's 2009 stop-motion feature Fantastic Mr. Fox. Production is set to begin later this year with famed Australian rock artist and film composer Nick Cave on board as a music consultant.
“We’ve designed key frames and characters, we know the mood and the feel, we’ve created a bible,” said Del Toro, who released several design photos from the planning stages of the production. "Shooting stop motion animation takes a lot time, but we’ve got the right team and I will be there for daily or weekly updates on how it’s going." Check out the photos below to get a feel for the dark, whimsical style that Grimly and Del Toro have in mind for Pinocchio, and let us know what you think in the comments.