Del Toro to update Pinocchio

Guillermo Del Toro will take the director’s role in a new screen version of Pinocchio. Given the Mexican director’s penchant for unsettling or disturbing films, his tale of the little wooden puppet with nose issues is likely to be as far from Disney as imaginable.

The film will use stop-motion animation overseen by the Jim Henson Company. Lisa Henson from the production company was delighted by Del Toro’s involvement. "Guillermo has been so passionate about this project from its inception," she said, "and it is an honour to have him bring his unique blend of live action and animation experience to this well-loved story."

Del Toro has been involved with developing the film for more than three years, but has only recently decided to take charge himself. "Little by little, I realised that I should direct," he told Variety. His regular colleague Matthew Robbins has written the screenplay.

Del Toro is a director who can be relied on to find the dark side of the most charming story, and Pinocchio already has its sinister elements. The story has been shifted to Italy after the First World War, "when everyone was behaving like a puppet, except for puppets," Del Toro explained. For fans of the director’s early work this will suggest echoes of his Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone, fantasy thrillers set during the Spanish Civil War.

The nature of Del Toro’s vision can be deduced from some of the people he has involved. Nick Cave will provide the soundtrack, while Donald Sutherland and Tom Waits could be cast in voice parts.

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