Add a 3-D stop-motion animated version of Pinocchio to the top of Guillermo de Toro’s ever-crowded to-do list: First rumored several years ago, the project is finally gearing up for production with the help of The Jim Henson Company—just in time to compete with Bryan Fuller’s own live-action Pinocchio adaptation which, like del Toro’s take, will have a dark and creepy tone more suited for slightly older audiences.
But while Fuller’s tale is explicitly “inspired by” Tim Burton’s recent Alice In Wonderland, del Toro’s project is based on Carlo Collodi’s 2002 book illustrated by Gris Grimly, who will co-direct with Mark Gustafson, animation director of Wes Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox. (MacKinnon And Saunders, the UK animation facility responsible for that film as well as The Corpse Bride, will also handle Pinocchio.) Longtime del Toro collaborator Matthew Robbins will handle the screenplay, while Nick Cave has signed on as the musical consultant—perhaps the clearest indicator of the sort of tone you can expect.
Over at Deadline, del Toro provided a few conceptual images (including the one above) and offered up some further details on his particular approach:
"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. The Blue Fairy is really a dead girl’s spirit, Pinocchio has strange moments of lucid dreaming bordering on hallucinations, with black rabbits. The sperm whale that swallows Pinocchio was actually a giant dogfish."
In other words, it’s pretty like every other fairy-tale adaptation headed our way, i.e. dark, edgy, and in 3-D. But of course, this one has Guillermo del Toro, The Jim Henson Company, and Nick Cave.