Guillermo del Toro is the reigning king of fantasy horror. His next project? Telling his version of Pinocchio. Some people are probably very confused as to why the classic story has caught his attention.
As far as many know, Pinocchio is a delightful tale about the misadventures of a wooden boy making his way downtown (so to speak). A woodworker makes a wish and then a cricket makes it come true. The result? A wooden puppet is brought to life to experience the vast wonders & unexpected horrors of the real world.
Like many Disney stories, though, Pinocchio has a darker past than many are familiar with. The original novel is ripe with enough material for Guillermo del Toro to feel right at home behind the camera. Just how dark will his version get?
Wish upon a star
The 1940 version of Pinocchio was a cautionary tale of a little wooden boy getting caught up in dangerous adventures. Pinocchio follows the story of a puppet who is turned into a real boy through the power of a wish from a woodworker named Geppetto.
Geppetto makes a wish as he’s falling asleep and a cricket aptly named Jiminy Cricket makes it come true. On its surface, Pinocchio doesn’t seem like the sort of tale Guillermo del Toro would want to bring to the big screen. It has musical numbers, a sweet ending, and a lie-detecting nose.
Yet, even in the Disney version, Pinocchio’s journey takes some pretty dark turns. While Disney is no stranger to mixing harsh truths between jaunty tunes, one might think child trafficking would’ve been too much. As scary as Pinocchio gets, however, the original is even darker.
Murder & mayhem
The beloved Disney movie was an adaptation of The Adventures of Pinocchio by Italian author Carlo Collodi. It takes a more realistic look – at least for 1883 – at what happens when children disobey their parents and act selfishly.
The Adventures of Pinocchio follows the wooden boy after he’s brought to life by a wish made by Geppetto. This is where Collodi & Disney part ways. Pinocchio proves to be a difficult & disrespectful child. At some point, he even kills the book’s version of Jiminy Cricket with a hammer for calling him out on being awful.
It’s a twisted tale of murder, mayhem, and children being transformed into donkeys. Naturally, Guillermo del Toro has chosen this Pinocchio to bring to life. It’s unknown how close he plans to stick to the original source material. However, what can be more gruesome than a father & son being swallowed whole?
Guillermo del Toro has become renowned for combining mind-blowing visuals with tear-jerking stories. The original Pinocchio story combines difficult life lessons with fantastical plot twists. The two are actually perfect for each other, at least based on the newly released trailer:
The playfully teasing voice of Ewan McGregor follows the striking of a match as he introduces himself as Sebastian J. Cricket. He doesn’t specify what story he’ll be delighting the audience with. He only says he lived in the heart of the wooden boy as his story unfolded.
Something else hidden by the forty-second trailer is the star-studded nature of the cast. Cate Blanchett (Carol, Lord of the Rings) will voice Sprezzatura the Monkey. Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things, It) will voice Lampwick/Lucignolo. Tilda Swinton (Only Lovers Left Alive, The Garden) will voice the Fairy with Turquoise Hair.
The unfamiliar names may confuse many who’ve never read the original novel. Equally confusing is Robert Zemeckis directing a live-action remake of the 1940 original movie, also set for a 2022 release.
Regardless, Guillermo del Toro will be the first to bring the not-so-Disney version of Pinocchio to the big screen. This makes sense. There are no strings on Pinocchio, just as there are no limits to how dark Guillermo del Toro can make his stories – even when they’re about little wooden children.
Are you more excited to see Guillermo del Toro adapt a grittier version of Pinocchio? Or are you most excited to see a new spin on the old 1940 classic? Let us know in the comments below!