It has been years since Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio was announced and, considering how many projects the filmmaker takes on but never gets to finish, one could be forgiven for assuming that it might not really be happening. Apparently it is, though, and Star Wars veteran Ewan McGregor is being considered for the role of Jiminy Cricket in the film, which del Toro has previously said would be a political parable. The film is expected to head direct to Netflix. It will also be a period piece set in Italy in the 1930s -- which del Toro has said he believes necessitates taking on, at least on some level, the rise of fascism and Mussolini.
In 2018, del Toro told The Hollywood Reporter about the idea. He also said that it would be "dark." But during a conversation with ACE Universe this week, McGregor teased that Jiminy Cricket might even have a song.
"That, I had started working on before I left for New York, so some of that is recorded, and of course it's stop-frame animation, so it's going to take them a great, long time to make that film," McGregor said. "But my first part of that, which is recording the dialogue, is sort of done. There may or may not be a song that needs to be recorded. I'm not sure that I'm at liberty to discuss that, so that's maybe yet to be done."
"It's not a Pinocchio for all the family," del Toro says. When asked whether or not it would be political, the director gave a resounding "of course."
"Pinocchio during the rise of Mussolini, do the math," he added. The story is set in 1930s Italy, so del Toro is quick to remind future viewers that this is the tale of "a puppet during the rise of fascism."
There has been very little in the way of visual material from the film released yet, but the look of del Toro's Pinocchio is reportedly inspired by Gris Grimly's illustrations, so you can check them out (see above) for some idea. A photo of a Grimly puppet that inspired the film's Pinocchio did find its way online back in 2011.
There is no release date yet for Pinocchio, and it's unlikely fans will hear much more about it until it is a bit further along in production, since by McGregor's own admission it's a ways off -- and streaming platforms tend to have a much shorter promotional window for movies and TV than do traditional studios and networks.