Following the slip of the tongue that led to the reveal of Ewan McGregor in the voice role of Cricket, the streamer has finally announced the rest of the principal cast. Who, reportedly, were quietly tapped for the musical feature. The stop-motion musical will feature newcomer Gregory Mann as the titular wooden boy, Pinocchio. And “Harry Potter” and “Game of Thrones” alum, David Bradley as woodcarver, Geppetto.
The rest of Guillermo’s cast has some notable names including Oscar winners Tilda Swinton, Christoph Waltz and Cate Blanchett. The film will also see Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things), John Turturro (The Batman), Golden Globe winner Ron Perlman (Nightmare Alley). Tim Blake Nelson (Watchmen) and Burn Gorman (Enola Holmes).
“After years of pursuing this dream project, I found my perfect partner in Netflix”
In an official statement, Del toro spoke about how he felt making the film with the streaming giant. “After years of pursuing this dream project, I found my perfect partner in Netflix. 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.”
Based on Carlo Collodi’s beloved children’s novel, “Pinocchio” tells the story of a wooden boy who is magically brought to life by a father’s wish. The film is set against the backdrop of Mussolini’s Italy and the rise of fascism. The story follows Pinocchio as he attempts to live up to his father’s expectations and combat his pernicious lying habit.
Del Toro directs “Pinocchio” with “Fantastic Mr. Fox’s” Mark Gustafson. He also co-wrote the script with Patrick McHale. Academy Award winner Alexandre Desplat (“The Shape of Water“) will write the score.
Desplat has previously compared the story to “Frankenstein.” In that,”they are both about creatures that are created and then get lost in a world they don’t understand. And they are both journeys of understanding, and journeys of evolution of the spirit.”
Illustrator, Gris Grimly, who first worked with del Toro in 2012 to conceive the visuals of the film, is credited with the original design for the Pinocchio character. The film’s puppets come from Mackinnon and Saunders (Corpse Bride), while Jim Henson Company’s Lisa Henson is on board as a producer.
Netflix is facing a bit of a competition already, as Disney is also currently looking to rope in Tom Hanks to play Gepetto in a live-action Pinocchio. The famed director spent years developing his animated adaptation, and in late 2018, Netflix purchased the rights to the passion project. According to the streaming giant, principal photography began last fall in Portland, Oregon, and has continued uninterrupted throughout the pandemic.
While del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley” stopped filming in light of the pandemic, production on “Pinocchio” kept on going on. McGregor revealed in a virtual panel in June that he had already logged most of his Cricket dialogue for the film. McGregor further teased, “there may or may not be a song that needs to be recorded.” While no release date accompanied news of the cast, the streaming service promised that the film would debut in theaters and on Netflix in the future.
With this latest update for “Pinocchio,” del Toro strikes a multi-year deal with Netflix to spearhead new movie and TV projects. In various capacities as a writer, director, and producer. He notably developed the animated Tales of Arcadia saga for Netflix. Which includes Trollhunters, 3Below, Wizards, and now Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans.