Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio Has More in Common With Frankenstein Than the Disney Version

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, a stop-motion animation feature, is set to premiere on Netflix this December. And while we got a teaser for the film back in January that gave us a glimpse of Ewan McGregor’s Sebastian J. Cricket, we haven’t heard too much from the Oscar-winning director about the project. Until now!

In an interview with Vanity Fair, del Toro gets into what the tale of Pinocchio means to him, and what themes he focuses on in his adaptation.

“I’ve always been very intrigued by the links between Pinocchio and Frankenstein,” del Toro told Vanity Fair. “They are both about a child that is thrown into the world. They are both created by a father who then expects them to figure out what’s good, what’s bad, the ethics, the morals, love, life, and essentials, on their own. I think that was, for me, childhood. You had to figure it out with your very limited experience.”

Del Toro went on to add that in his feature, which he co-directed with Mark Gustafson, the whole question of whether Pinocchio is a “real boy” is put to the wayside. “To me, it’s essential to counter the idea that you have to change into a flesh-and-blood child to be a real human,” he said. “All you need to be human is to really behave like one, you know? I have never believed that transformation [should] be demanded to gain love.”

The Vanity Fair piece also shares that the story will be set in Italy between WWI and WWII, and that the villain will be a man called Count Volpe (voiced by Christoph Waltz), who is an amalgamation of the cat, the fox, and the puppeteer from the original tale. It also has a fascist official (voiced by Ron Perlman) who thinks Pinocchio would make the perfect soldier because he can’t die.

You can check out more details in the article, but I’ll leave you with this final quote from del Toro about what Pinocchio’s story means to him:

“Many times the fable has seemed, to me, in favor of obedience and domestication of the soul. Blind obedience is not a virtue. The virtue Pinocchio has is to disobey. At a time when everybody else behaves as a puppet—he doesn’t. Those are the interesting things, for me. I don’t want to retell the same story. I want to tell it my way and in the way I understand the world.”

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio will drop on Netflix this December.

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