After several months of rumors, it has been made official by Variety mag that Guillermo Del Toro will be co-directing Henson’s stop-motion adaptation of Pinocchio, along with Mark Gustafson (of Fantastic Mr. Fox), with the project scheduled to start shooting in the summer of 2013.
The Pinocchio adaptation originally pegged Gris Grimly as director, with Grimly being familiar with the story after illustrating a 2002 version of the classic, but Del Toro decided to helm the project himself due to the complexity of the year-long shoot.
The film will be slightly modernized, with the setting being changed to Italy, inbetween WWI and WWII. The film will more closely follow Pinocchio’s adventures as he tries to prove himself to be as indestructible as his love for his father.
Del Toro noted that Tom Waits was considered for the role of Geppetto, while Donald Sutherland is being considered for the Fox’s voice.
“Guillermo has been so passionate about this project from its inception and it is an honor to have him bring his unique blend of live action and animation experience to this well-loved story,” said Lisa Henson, CEO of The Jim Henson Company.
Pinocchio is the first time Guillermo will direct an animated feature, but he has had past experiences in other key positions, serving as exec producer for DreamWorks’ Puss in Boots, Kung Fun Panda 2, and even the upcoming Rise of the Guardians.