Pinocchio director

Over the past ten years, many filmmakers have tried and failed to direct a new version of Pinocchio. Guillermo del Toro is finally getting his stop-motion Pinocchio passion project made at Netflix, and Disney is primed to bring the character back in live-action like the other remakes of their animated catalogue. But a new update from the Disney movie’s would-be cinematographer suggests that version, which might have starred Tom Hanks as Geppetto, may have now lost Paddington director Paul King, who was hired last year.
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Paul Thomas Anderson Not Directing ‘Pinocchio’

Paul Thomas Anderson documentary

Live-action updates of animated films are the hot new thing right now. Most of them haven’t been particularly good, with the notable exception of Kenneth Branagh‘s lovely take on Cinderella. But one live-action update that’s evoked promise over the past few years is Warner Bros.’ Pinocchio, which Robert Downey Jr. has been attached to for years now. The film became all the more enticing when Paul Thomas Anderson (Inherent Vicesigned on to write a draft and possibly direct, but it looks like we won’t see Anderson’s take on the classic fairy tale after all.

Learn more about the project after the jump.

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Earlier this week, Blood Disgusting scored the exclusive news that Guillermo del Toro is working on a stop-motion version of Pinnochio together with artist Gris Grimly. Variety elaborated on the news, revealing that the film will be co-directed by Grimly and Adam Parrish King, with del Toro producing and co-writing the screenplay.

In typical del Toro fashion, this is not your average child-friendly Pinocchio tale. He tells Bloody Disgusting:

We are trying to get a full stop-motion version of Gris Grimly’s PINOCCHIO off the ground, with the Jim Henson Company. The idea came from Gris, and everybody loves his book about it. The original story is far more perverse and spooky and semi-necrophilia vibe to it in certain aspects. Gris certainly has that vein in him, he wants to do this with that original spookiness in it, we are trying to get it going.

The Jim Henson Company is the behind it and we are currently working on the screenplay! Its not coming to a screen near you any time soon, even if it were to begin today it would be about three years in the making, but we are working to make it happen. A full-scale puppet universe takes time.

Fans of Hellboy 2 will remember that the opening sequence featured a stop-motion puppet sequence, so this medium is certainly not new to del Toro. It was a bit jarring to see such a drastic change of style in a Hellboy film, but it served the story well and suited del Toro’s fantastical style. He also hints at a feature-length puppet film of his own coming along, but unfortunately couldn’t say much on the topic.

I’m a fan of stop-motion animation in general, so it’s great to see del Toro show some love to an arguably dying genre. This also makes me wonder if he’ll ever make the jump to traditional animation as well. A Guillermo del Toro written/directed project produced by an anime company could be pretty fantastic in my opinion.

Discuss: What do you think about Guillermo del Toro’s jump into stop-motion puppetry? Are there any other fairy tale or folklore properties you’d like to see handled in the same way?