Guillermo del Toro has a very busy 2022. At the beginning of the year he premiered his version of The Alley of Lost Souls, a film that did not obtain the support of the public but was among the nominees for best film at the Oscars. For this last third of the year, he plans to show two works produced by Netflix: the horror anthology The Cabinet of Curiosities by Guillermo del Toro, which will arrive on October 25, and his most long-awaited project is expected in December, the musical adaptation of Pinocchio shot by stop motion animation.
In fact, his version of the classic work by the Italian Carlo Collodi had its premiere yesterday at the London Festival, just one day after the death of the Mexican director's mother. “I just want to say that my mother just passed away and this was very special to her and me. It's not only the first time they're going to see the movie, but it's the first time she's going to see the movie with us,” she announced before the screening.
For the film, co-directed with Mark Gustafson and which has garnered rave reviews, Del Toro has spent 14 years seeking financing and has taken 1,000 days to shoot. The Oscar-winning director of The Shape of Water said that he came to Pinocchio through Disney's animated adaptation in 1940: “I saw the film as a child and it linked me to my mother throughout my life. He affected me because Pinocchio saw the world as I saw it. It infuriated me that people demanded obedience from Pinocchio, so I wanted to make a film about disobedience as a virtue, and saying that you don't have to change to be loved."
Del Toro already presented last June during the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, a brief eight-minute preview of his new film, set in Mussolini's time. In the first sequences, an apparently drunk Geppetto with reddish eyes is seen getting up from the ground in the middle of his workshop. “Encourage silence and unnecessary gestures. We said, let's get the characters wrong. Let's do in four gestures what others would do in one. Let's give them itches and headaches and make this world feel inhabited,” he explained to an enthusiastic audience.
Pinocchio has a stellar cast of voices: from Ewan McGregor as Jiminy Cricket, through David Bradley as Geppetto and newcomer Gregory Mann as Pinocchio to the collaborations of Cate Blanchett, John Turturro or Tilda Swinton.
Last September, Robert Zemeckis also showcased his version of the acclaimed tale in a live action and CGI story from Disney starring Tom Hanks and Cynthia Erivo that received only negative reviews.