“From my many wanderings on this Earth, I had so much to say about imperfect fathers and imperfect sons,” begins Ewan McGregor’s Sebastian J. Cricket. He has other things to talk about, too—love, and loss, and hidden spirits—but he’s mostly here to tell us about a wooden boy whose story we might think we know.
The teaser for Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio suggests that while the wooden boy may have no strings, your heartstrings are sure going to get tugged.
Last month, del Toro had a lot of very intriguing things to say about his version of Carlo Collodi’s classic tale, comparing the wooden boy to Frankenstein, dismissing the idea of a “real boy” needing to be flesh and blood, and speaking to the importance of disobedience:
“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.”
His film (co-directed with Mark Gustafson and co-written with Patrick McHale) shifts the setting to 1930s Italy, amid the rise of fascism. Christoph Waltz plays the villain; del Toro regular Ron Perlman plays an official with a particular eye for the deathless wooden boy. The rest of the voice cast includes David Bradley as Geppetto and newcomer Gregory Mann as Pinocchio, along with Cate Blanchett, Burn Gorman, Tim Blake Nelson, Tilda Swinton, John Turturro, and Finn Wolfhard.
In a classic Hollywood seeing-double moment, Disney is also releasing a new Pinocchio this year; theirs is a Robert Zemeckis-directed live-action version of the classic animated film, with Tom Hanks playing Gepetto.
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio will be in theaters in November, and on Netflix in December.