Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio: Release Date, Cast, And More For The Stop-Motion Animated Movie

(Welcome to ...And More, our no-frills, zero B.S. guide to when and where you can watch upcoming movies and shows, and everything else you could possibly stand to know.)

"Pinocchio" is a beloved story about a little wooden boy who longs to become human, and we're about to be blessed with a truly imaginative take on the tale. Guillermo del Toro, the writer and director of some of the greatest cinematic fairy tales of our time, including "Pan's Labyrinth" and "The Shape of Water," is creating a stop-motion animated film about the doll that longed for a flesh and blood body. It looks absolutely incredible, featuring some of the most detailed stop-motion models I've ever seen. Del Toro's "Pinocchio" will take the story back to its roots, riffing on the 1883 novel by Carlo Collodi and subverting it to tell a more del Toro-themed tale about the dangers of fascism. 

Fans of the Disney animated "Pinocchio" also have a live-action adaptation of that story on the way, so there's plenty of Pinocchio to go around. Even the crew of the Revenge on "Our Flag Means Death" love Pinocchio, so you know that it's special. Here's everything there is to know about del Toro's upcoming Netflix adaptation.

Pinocchio release date and where you can watch it

"Pinocchio" is set to hit Netflix on December 9, 2022, just in time for the holiday season. Netflix is also planning on releasing the film in select theaters, though no dates have been set. The timing is pretty perfect, setting "Pinocchio" up as both a potential family favorite and a serious awards contender. If the fates are friendly, del Toro might end up with another Oscar for his mantle. 

What is Pinocchio?

The original "Pinocchio" focused on children learning how to be proper adults and giving up their whimsy and wonder. The story was full of morality tales, which made it perfect for Disney to turn into an animated feature in 1940. Following rules and fitting in has never really been del Toro's goal, and his version of the tale will be set in authoritarian Italy circa World War II. Pinocchio will have to learn to avoid the pitfalls of fascism, which are honestly a lot scarier than being turned into a donkey. The film will be darker than the Disney version, but will still contain moral lessons about questioning authority and sticking up for what's right. In an interview with Vanity Fair, the director revealed that instead of the Pleasure Island scene in which the unruly boys are turned into donkeys, Pinocchio is instead turned into a soldier:

"He is recruited into the village military camp, because the fascist official in town thinks if this puppet cannot die, it would make the perfect soldier."

Del Toro has a history of condemning fascism in his work, with fascists as the villains in several of his films. Hellboy fights Nazis and Ofelia in "Pan's Labyrinth" fights her fascist army captain stepfather, for starters. It will be interesting to see how he brings these themes to a somewhat more family-friendly property. We'll have to wait and see if Pinocchio's nose grows when he lies, though based on the pointed proboscis on that puppet, I'm going to say it's a safe bet.

Pinocchio director, crew, and more

This adaptation of "Pinocchio" is the brainchild of del Toro, who is co-directing the film with Mark Gustafson ("Fantastic Mr. Fox") based on a script del Toro wrote with Patrick McHale ("Adventure Time"). The film's song lyrics were written by del Toro and Katz, with music and a score by "The Shape of Water" composer Alexandre Desplat. 

If the puppets look absolutely stunning, that's because they're built by Mackinnon and Saunders, who also built the puppets for Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride." The original design for Pinocchio himself was created by children's book author and artist Gris Grimly.

The film is produced by del Toro, Lisa Henson for The Jim Henson Company, Alex Bulkley and Corey Campodonico for ShadowMachine, and Gary Ungar for Exile Entertainment. Blanca Lista of The Jim Henson Company and Grimly are co-producers. Frank Passingham, who did the cinematography for the gorgeous Laika film "Kubo and the Two Strings," is the director of photography. 

Pinocchio cast

On top of having such incredible talent behind the scenes, "Pinocchio" will also feature the voice talents of some of today's biggest stars. Ewan McGregor (you know, Obi-Wan Kenobi) will star as Cricket, who helps the wooden boy along his journey, while David Bradley ("Game of Thrones") will voice the puppet maker Geppetto. The rest of the star-studded cast includes Tilda Swinton, Christoph Waltz, Cate Blanchett, John Turturro, Ron Perlman, Tim Blake Nelson, Finn Wolfhard, and Burn Gorman. Pinnochio himself will be voiced by newcomer Gregory Mann. 

Del Toro has worked with many of these cast members before, bringing back some of his regular working partners like Perlman and Gorman, who are both great performers who already understand del Toro's unique vision. December can't get here soon enough.