Guillermo del Toro has been trying to get his stop-motion Pinocchio project off the ground for some time. Back in 2012, there was news that acclaimed musician and recent meme sensation Nick Cave was being sought to produce and compose the soundtrack for the film; he seemed to be on board as long as the script was the same and del Toro was still involved. Then, in 2015, the financing for the film dried up, essentially shelving it. But del Toro, ever the optimist, continues to push forward on the project even while he’s involved in so many others.
In talking to the Oscar-nominated writer about his most recent success, that of the original animated series Trollhunters which is on track to become the most-watched kids original series ever on Netflix, we learned that he’s quite keen on continuing his efforts in animation. For starters, he aiming to parlay his years of experience as a producer on DreamWorks Animation films into his first animated feature film as a director. And, not forgetting Pinocchio, del Toro has also landed a new co-writer on that project: Over the Garden Wall creator, Patrick McHale.
Here’s what del Toro had to say about continuing his career and working in some more animation alongside his live-action work:
There are a lot of things that are still percolating, but as far as I’m concerned, I am still planning to do my first animated feature as a director. It’s been an apprenticeship with DreamWorks the last seven years with Jeffrey [Katzenberg]. I was as close to him as I could and I was on the production of Puss in Boots, Kung Fu Panda 3 and so forth because I’m preparing to, more and more, direct animation. The normal route is that animation directors want to go live-action, I want to be able to transit both mediums, live-action and animation.
Del Toro certainly has horror/magical fantasy films locked down, but I truly think that animation could be del Toro’s signature medium. The relatively limitless potential of animation in cinema fits perfectly well with del Toro’s infinitely expansive imagination; the only restriction he might face is trying to do too much. But in the meantime, his stop-motion animated project Pinocchio adds some Emmy-winning talent:
I’m preparing, also, my first stop-motion animation feature with Pinocchio, which I’ve been trying to get off the ground for a while, but I haven’t been able yet. But the last news on Pinocchio, which was very, very useful for me, was that I was looking for a co-writer who could be a great partner for me on this, and I’m happy to say that Patrick McHale from Over the Garden Wall is going to co-write the new draft of the screenplay with me.
That’s fantastic news for a number of reasons. Firstly, it means that Pinocchio could still happen in the near future, even though it’s still in the scripting stage. Secondly, McHale’s particular brand of quirky characters, oddball humor, and inclusion of plenty of heart in his stories seems like a perfect fit for this project. And if you happened to miss Over the Garden Wall, you probably know McHale from his writing on the Emmy-winning series Adventure Time. (And still others might know him as the voice the Hectorgon from Gravity Falls.) This should have fans of GDT, McHale, Pinocchio, and animation in general very excited!
Keep an eye out for more from our chat with del Toro on all things Trollhunters later!