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Guillermo del Toro has taken up directing duties on a new stop motion 3D puppet-led version of the classic fairy tale Pinocchio, backed by the Jim Henson Company.
Buyers crowded into a hotel suite in Cannes organized by L.A.-based sales, finance and production banner Inferno Entertainment, to learn del Toro’s decision to maintain his executive producer role on the project while opting to direct with Mark Gustafson.
“When we originally talked about this project I was going to direct but then I said I would executive produce it. But everything with the production discussions became more and more specific and I began to realize I was getting more and more involved,” del Toro said. The switch by del Toro certainly caused a buzz among buyers attending the specially orchestrated satellite link with the filmmaker to talk up the project. In a world of acquisitions where top projects lose talent, headliners get replaced or filmmakers change, this particular change was nothing but positive.
Del Toro himself certainly contributed with his enthusiasm for the gothic, dark adaptation of the famous Carlo Collodi fairy tale about a wooden puppet who dreams of becoming a real boy. He detailed to the room — too small to accommodate the first wave of acquisitions executives with lots being asked to come back to the second presentation from del Toro via video conferencing — about the pre-pre-production on the project.
The filmmaker also plans to employ 3D to make the film and is prepping to make it “seemed like it bleeds out into the audience at the edges.”
Producers are Lisa Henson and Guillermo del Toro with the project being exec produced by Gary Ungar, Bill Johnson and Jim Seibel.
Del Toro is busy creating a dark, atmospheric tale with the story of Pinocchio and his father Geppetto.
He said Daniel Radcliffe had approached him “to get involved in the project” and said Tom Waits was on his wish list to play a part as one of the voice cast. Throwing out names, del Toro also said he instantly thought of Christopher Walken when he imagined the part played by the fox in the story but was at pains to point out that no one has yet signed to the voice cast.
The project is on a schedule which should see it finished and ready by 2014, del Toro said, adding “stop motion takes that long to gather footage.”
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