Pinnochio is an inherently creepy children’s story, but for the most part film adaptations ignore the balance between horror and fantasy that the story could provide. That might change when Guillermo del Toro‘s stop-motion Pinocchio adaptation hits Netflix this December. While the new teaser that came out alongside the release window doesn’t show much, the director has a unique talent for mixing just the right amount of darkness into fantastical stories. Oh, it’s also a musical.
Of course, that amount of darkness will probably be slightly different from the likes of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark or Pan’s Labyrinth because Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio seems to be very much a kids movie. The best kids movies have a touch of darkness, though. The stop-motion animation shown in the Pinocchio teaser trailer is rife for the kind of weirdness that del Toro brings to films, though Netflix uses the word “whimsical” to describe the film. Who knows — maybe it will just be all sunshine and happy wooden boys?
Veteran animator Mark Gustafson joins del Toro as co-director. Gustafson doesn’t have any experience directing feature-length films, but he did work on animated Fox show The PJs back in the late ’90s. The cast list for the film is prolific, including Ewan McGregor as the Cricket we see in the trailer, David Bradley as Geppetto, and newcomer Gregory Mann as Pinocchio. Joining them in voicing characters are Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, John Turturro, Ron Perlman, Tim Blake Nelson, Burn Gorman, Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton.
The plot of Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, as described by Netflix, doesn’t seem to be veering too far away from the original premise, but it will reinvent “Carlo Collodi’s classic tale of the wooden marionette who is magically brought to life in order to mend the heart of a grieving woodcarver named Geppetto.”