Guillermo Del Toro famously has a long, long list of dream projects he wants to get around to, and for many years, a reimagining of Pinocchio has been towards the top of the list. No surprise to anyone familiar with Del Toro’s work, he wanted a film adaptation that would hew closer to the original tale’s strangeness instead of the sanitized Disney versions most of us are familiar with.
And now, it’s actually happening. Made in gorgeous stop-motion animation, Netflix will drop Pinocchio this Christmas, with Ewan MacGregor as Sebastian Cricket (“Jiminy” in Disney’s telling), Tilda Swinton as the “Fairy With the Turquoise Hair,” Cristoph Walz and Cate Blanchett as the Fox and the Monkey to hoodwink Pinnochio, David Bradley (Filch in the Harry Potter movies) as Geppetto and newcomer Gregory Mann as the real boy himself. The cast also includes John Turturro, Finn Wolfhard, Ron Perlman and Tim Blake Nelson, so this movie is wishing upon some real star power here.
The brief teaser doesn’t give us much to look at besides some gorgeous animation and inspired character design for our talking cricket, but that’s enough to get us intrigued. Del Toro remains one of cinema’s most gifted weirdos (Nightmare Alley bombed at the box office like pretty much everything without three Spider-Men in it has bombed recently, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a winner) and he’s never better than when he’s blending his slightly spooky aesthetic into a fairy tale vehicle, as he did to masterful effect in Pan’s Labyrinth. Keep an eye on this one. It could be something special.
Interestingly enough, this isn’t the only Pinocchio adaptation headed to streamers this year. Robert Zemeckis has his own live-action version headed to Disney Plus, featuring its own stacked cast with Tom Hanks as Geppetto, Cynthia Erivo as the Blue Fairy, Keegan Michael-Key as the Fox, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jiminy and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth as Pinocchio. Place bets now on which one you think will reign supreme.