We now know who will be featuring in Guillermo del Toro‘s stop-motion Pinocchio for Netflix. Reports have confirmed that the cast will be including Ewan McGregor as the puppet’s conscience guide Cricket, and David Bradley (most well known as Argus Filch in the Harry Potter franchise) as the woodworker who creates Pinocchio, Gepetto. The cast will also include Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things, Christoph Waltz, John Turturro (Agent Simmons in the Transformers franchise), and Burn Gorman (Pacific Rim). Also making an appearance is Ron Perlman, who already has rapport with del Toro from their time together filming Hellboy.
As del Toro has always had a fascination with fairy tales and the uncanny, and using those elements to make social commentary (as we saw with The Shape of Water), Pinocchio will be no different. Originally an Italian fairytale, del Toro set his Pinocchio in fascist Italy during the days of World War II and Benito Mussolini.
“After years of pursuing this dream project, I found my perfect partner in Netflix,” said del Toro. “We have spent a long time curating a remarkable cast and crew and have been blessed by continuous support from Netflix to quietly and carefully soldier on, barely missing a beat. We all love and practice animation with great passion and believe it to be the ideal medium to retell this classic story in a completely new way.”
This will be the first non-live action feature length film del Toro has directed. Del Toro said, when first announcing his intent to make the film in 2014, “no art form has influenced my life and my work more than animation and no single character in history has had as deep of a personal connection to me as Pinocchio.” The film has been in development hell all these long years, until Netflix bought the rights to it back in 2018. The director’s desire to stretch his creative muscle coincides well with the coronavirus pandemic and the necessity of social distancing. Animation makes it safer to produce films in conditions such as these. A movie such as this couldn’t come at a better time.