In a nearly two-minute behind-the-scenes video released as part of Netflix’s TUDUM event on Saturday, the Pinocchio helmer celebrates the art of stop-motion while promising that his incarnation is a tribute to a fable close to his heart.
“To me, there’s a valuable difference between stop-motion as an art form and digital,” the award-winning filmmaker behind films like The Shape of Water and the animated series Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia. “Stop-motion in the early days where you had the flicker of fur and fabric, even the atmospheric dust on the sets — and the imperfection of it was totally gorgeous to look at because it told you how the thing was done.
During the brief look at the making of the film, the work of the crew as they navigate the movie’s various sets and puppets reveals part of the magic behind del Toro’s stop-motion vision. That includes, as the filmmaker explains, how they created puppets of the same characters but of different sizes to help frame and shoot specific sequences to scale. (The production company behind the movie is the Portland-based Shadow Machine.)
“I really wanted this movie to land in a way that had the expressiveness and the material nature of a handmade piece of animation — an artisanal, beautiful exercise and carving, painting, sculpting, but it had the sophistication of movement that research on rigs and puppetry-making has taken us.”
“Pinocchio has lived through the centuries, a fable very close to my heart,” he concludes. “We are very sure that this incarnation is particularly beautiful.”
The streamer first dropped the trailer for the film back in July. In it, Ewan McGregor can be heard narrating del Toro’s spin on Carlo Collodi’s 1883 novel as the Cricket. Other notable characters to make an appearance include Geppetto (voiced by David Bradley), his wooden boy (voiced by Gregory Mann) as well as the characters Fairy (Tilda Swinton) and Sprezzatura (Cate Blanchett).
Christoph Waltz, Ron Perlman, Finn Wolfhard, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson and Burn Gorman are also part of the movie’s voice cast. Del Toro, who wrote the screenplay with Patrick McHale, is directing alongside Mark Gustafson. The score is composed by Alexandre Desplat. Lisa Hanson, Gary Ungar, Alex Bulkley and Corey Campodonico are producing.
Pinocchio will have a limited theatrical release in November before becoming available on Netflix in December.