Oscar winners Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton and Christoph Waltz have signed on to voice key characters in Guillermo del Toro‘s Pinocchio movie at Netflix, which will star newcomer Gregory Mann as the young title character.
This version of the timeless Carlo Collodi tale is a stop-motion animated feature musical that will feature Ewan McGregor as the voice of Jiminy Cricket and David Bradley as the voice of Geppetto. Bradley is best known for playing Argus Filch in the Harry Potter movies and Walder Frey on Game of Thrones.
Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things), John Turturro (The Batman), Ron Perlman (Nightmare Alley), Tim Blake Nelson (Watchmen) and Burn Gorman (Enola Holmes) round out the rest of the star-studded voice cast.
Del Toro is co-directing with Mark Gustafson (Fantastic Mr. Fox) and the film follows the extraordinary journey of a wooden boy who is magically brought to life by a father’s wish. Set during the rise of Fascism in Mussolini’s Italy, Netflix’s musical is a story of love and disobedience as Pinocchio struggles to live up to his father’s expectations.
Del Toro co-wrote the script with Patrick McHale, and he also co-wrote the song lyrics, while Oscar winner Alexandre Desplat will write the score. Gris Grimly created the original design for the Pinocchio character, and the film’s puppets are being built by Mackinnon and Saunders (Corpse Bride).
Pinocchio is produced by del Toro, Lisa Henson of The Jim Henson Company and Alex Bulkley and Corey Campodonico of ShadowMachine, as well as Gary Ungar of Exile Entertainment. Grimly will co-produce alongside Blanca Lista of The Jim Henson Company. Principal photography began last fall at ShadowMachine’s studio in Portland, Oregon, and production has continued uninterrupted during the pandemic. The film, which is expected to debut in theaters, is also a lifelong passion project for del Toro.
“After years of pursuing this dream project, I found my perfect partner in Netflix. We have spent a long time curating a remarkable cast and crew and have been blessed by continuous support from Netflix to quietly and carefully soldier on, barely missing a beat. We all love and practice animation with great passion and believe it to be the ideal medium to retell this classic story in a completely new way,” del Toro said in a statement.
I love the eclectic voice cast that del Toro has assembled here, but I’m also excited for the live-action Disney movie that has Robert Zemeckis directing and Tom Hanks poised to play Geppetto.