Guillermo del Toro to Bring ‘Pinocchio’ Film to Netflix

Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro will direct the Netflix feature film Pinocchio. He will also write and produce the project, described as an animated stop-motion musical.

Del Toro directed The Shape of Water, which won best director and best picture Academy Awards in 2017.

The film will be set in Italy in the 1930s.

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“Throughout his distinguished career, Guillermo has exhibited mastery in inspiring people through his magical worlds filled with unforgettable and magnificent characters, from the monsters in Pan’s Labyrinth to the aquatic creature in The Shape of Water,” said Melissa Cobb, VP of kids and family at Netflix. “We are incredibly excited to expand our relationship with Guillermo and we know that his deeply touching vision for bringing Pinocchio to life on Netflix will be embraced by audiences the world over.”

Del Toro’s previous Netflix projects include the series DreamWorks’ Trollhunters, the first installment of the DreamWorks’ Tales of Arcadia trilogy, and Guillermo del Toro Presents 10 After Midnight.

Netflix expects production on Pinocchio to begin this fall. It is a production of del Toro, The Jim Henson Company and ShadowMachine. Alongside del Toro, Lisa Henson, ShadowMachine’s Alex Bulkley, Corey Campodonico and Gary Ungar of Exile Entertainment will produce. Blanca Lista will co-produce. Also alongside del Toro, Patrick McHale will co-write the script, while Mark Gustafson will co-direct.

“No art form has influenced my life and my work more than animation and no single character in history has had as deep of a personal connection to me as Pinocchio,” said del Toro. “In our story, Pinocchio is an innocent soul with an uncaring father who gets lost in a world he cannot comprehend. He embarks on an extraordinary journey that leaves him with a deep understanding of his father and the real world.”

Del Toro said he has wanted to make Pinocchio “for as long as I can remember.”

“After the incredible experience we have had on Trollhunters, I am grateful that the talented team at Netflix is giving me the opportunity of a lifetime,” he said, “to introduce audiences everywhere to my version of this strange puppet-turned-real-boy.” 

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.