Guillermo Del Toro might be the busiest man alive. But he isn’t going to let that distinction keep him from making his foray into stop motion animation with that is now called Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio for the Jim Henson Company. Actually he’ll be co-directing it with with Mark Gustafson, who was the animation director on Wes Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Per Variety, “Guillermo Del Toro will co-direct ‘Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio’… he plans to begin shooting in the summer of 2013. It’s the first time he’s directed an animated feature. Story will be set in Italy between WWI and WWII. ‘It was when everyone was behaving like a puppet, except for puppets,’ Del Toro said. Del Toro said no casting decisions have been made but noted he’s considered Tom Waits for the role of Pinocchio’s father and Donald Sutherland for the role of the fox.”
Del Toro disclosed in 2008 that he had began working on a “Pinnochio” project with Henson and artist Gris Grimly, who illustrated a 2002 version of “Pinocchio.” At that point, Grimly and Adam Parrish King were attached to co-direct; last year, Del Toro and Henson Co. announced that Grimly would co-direct with Gustafson.
This is just speculation on my part, but this could actually work out with Del Toro’s schedule just fine. While he’s deep in post on Pacific Rim and has a gajillion other projects lined up, he doesn’t necessarily need to be onset the entire time for Pinocchio (similarly, Wes Anderson was able to direct much of Fox remotely). Stop-motion movies are so painstakingly detailed and take so long to film (up to a year), so much of the process is actually just photographing the movements of the characters. While directing the film will no doubt require a lot of effort on Del Toro’s behalf, it might be something he can multi-task.
Inferno Entertainment will represent the property to international buyers at Cannes Film Festival.