Del Toro, Henson Co. and Pathe partner for 3-d stop motion “Pinocchio”

Hollywood, February 16, 2011 — Guillermo Del Toro and The Jim Henson Company have joined forces with Pathe to develop and produce a 3D stop motion animated version of Pinocchio based on the edition of Carlo Collodi’s classic tale illustrated by Gris Grimly. Grimly will codirect with Mark Gustafson (Animation Director on The Fantastic Mr. Fox). The team plans to move forward with production of the film later in 2011.

In this new version of one of the world’s best-loved tales, the puppet Pinocchio embarks on a series of extraordinary and thrilling adventures, proving himself to be as indestructible as his love for his father.

Del Toro and his frequent collaborator Matthew Robbins have been developing the screen story over the past year, and Robbins wrote the screenplay. Del Toro will produce with Lisa Henson and Jason Lust of The Jim Henson Company and Allison Abbate (The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, Frankenweenie). Gary Ungar will serve as executive producer, as will Francois Ivernel and Cameron McCracken for Pathe. Veteran rock musician and film composer Nick Cave will serve as music consultant for the production.

The team will develop the puppets and other 3D elements with UK-based MacKinnon and Saunders, which has performed the same duties on The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie.

“I believe that our tale of Pinocchio recaptures the darker, more daunting aspects of the book that have been missing from previous film incarnations and takes advantage of all the allegorical aspects of the tale. Gris and Mark have a clear vision of this world. Matthew, the directors and I have constructed an adaptation that I feel enormously proud of,” said Guillermo Del Toro.

“Stop motion animation will be a new style of telling this well-known tale, a hand-crafted style with which we were eager to work since it requires a high level of artistry and craftsmanship that is similar to the work of The Jim Henson Company,” said Lisa Henson, CEO of The Jim Henson Company.

“There is a perfect match between the visionary world of Guillermo, the story of Pinocchio and Gris’ wonderful illustrations. The talent and experience of the Henson team will ensure that Gris, Mark and Guillermo’s vision comes to life in the most thrilling way,” said Francois Ivernel, Executive Vice-President, Pathe.

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  • Jerold Howard

    Congratulations, and best of luck to Mark G, and the crew. I’m sure Pinocchio will be beautiful!

  • G. Melissa Graziano

    This sounds like an amazing project. Yet, I’m saddened that another stop-mo film largely produced (or, in this case, co-produced) by an American company is being made outside the U.S….not that the Brits don’t need some animation work now that the government’s taken away all its funding for indie animation, but we Yanks can do stop motion, too! :p

  • Scarabim

    Henson already did a version of Pinocchio years ago, which flopped. It was rather dull and charmless. Surprised they wanted another go at it. Anyway, if Del Toro follows the original story more closely than did Disney, it WON’T be a movie suitable for the kiddies. (Yes, I’ve read Collodi’s book. Remember the scene in Disney’s Pinocchio when Stromboli threatened the little wooden boy by throwing an axe into a discarded puppet’s chest? That’s Care Bear stuff compared to the violence, cruelty, death, murder and near-cannibalism that occurs in the book.)

    Just sayin’.

  • Chris

    I understand that MacKinnon and Saunders will be making the puppets, but where, and with who, will the rest of the production occur?