Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio has finally arrived on Netflix after a long wait and heated discussion about how it would differ from the classic Disney film. The stop-motion animation is more directly adapted from Carlo Collodi’s 1883 novel than previous iterations, and acclaimed filmmaker del Toro takes advantage of this to infuse the tale of the wooden puppet with a darker tone amid politics. fascist Italy in the early 20th century. Its screenplay, co-written by Patrick McHale and derived from a screen story co-written by Matthew Robbins, also weaves important messages about death as part of the cycle of life.
Directed by del Toro and Mark Gustafson, Pinocchio introduces audiences to a lonely drunk named Geppetto (David Bradley), who mourns the death of his son Carlo during World War I. Sebastian J. Cricket (Ewan McGregor) tells the story as a whimsical wooden sprite grants life to the wooden toy Pinocchio (Gregory Mann) so he can keep Geppetto company. Pinocchio soon learns that life brings death, but until he is a “real” boy like Carlo, he will come back. Throughout his many “lives”, Pinocchio encounters characters like Count Volpe who are selfish and use others for their own means. He also meets people like Candlewick (Finn Wolfhard), who become brave and selfless as they stand up for what is right.
. spoke to Mann and Wolfhard about what made del Toro and Gustafson great collaborators, how they got into character on the stand, and the nuanced way Pinocchio explores Geppetto’s role as a father.
Gregory Mann and Finn Wolfhard on Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro
.: You are living my dream life. How is working with Guillermo del Toro going?
Gregory Mann: Guillermo is such a nice person as he is an amazing director and as you can tell from what he has done he is so amazing in the final production of a film. But then to be in a cabin with him and [having] giving him directions is the [craziest] thing. Being in a Guillermo del Toro movie and getting to know him is just amazing. It’s so amazing.
Finn, how does it feel to be in the cabin? How do you find your character, especially, who has such a moving story?
Finn Wolfhard: I had such a great time making this movie, especially because I got to work in a booth with Gregory for one of the scenes. It helps so much, because you can bounce off someone. Usually when it comes to dubbing, I get really frustrated because it’s such a hard thing to do. Some people are so good at it, [but] I’ve always been very in my head because I feel like I work better when I’m around or bouncing off other people or whatever. When it’s just you in the cabin, you’re like, “Oh, my God…” But Mark and Guillermo are so good at relaxing me. Yeah, they’re great.
Gregory, your Pinocchio’s relationship with Geppetto is much more complicated than you might think. Can you talk about exploring that father-son dynamic?
Gregory Mann: From the beginning, when Pinocchio was first incarnated, he didn’t understand at all. He only discovers Carlo maybe a day later, or maybe the night he made. But all he wants is to be Geppetto’s son, because what happened is that Carlos’ soul was taken and given to Pinocchio. He thinks Geppetto knows, but he doesn’t. Geppetto is still in mourning, and that’s when [Pinocchio[ gets quite upset because Geppetto calls him a burden. But in the end, Geppetto actually comes to a realization that you shouldn’t make someone change to love you. Because if someone says they love you, but they’re trying to make you change, then they don’t love you.
Is there another fairytale that you would each like to do a Guillermo del Toro version of?
Finn Wolfhard: There hasn’t been a Goldilocks one, has there?Gregory Mann: Jack and the Beanstalk would be cool. You could implement some Guillermo del Toro [style] with the monsters that live in the clouds. You can make it really, really scary. That would actually be pretty cool. Finn Wolfhard: Yeah, with puppets and stuff.
About Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro and award-winning stop-motion legend Mark Gustafson reimagine Carlo Collodi’s classic tale of the legendary wooden boy with a whimsical tour de force that finds Pinocchio in an enchanted adventure that transcends worlds and reveals the life- giving the power of love.
Check out our other interviews for Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro here:
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is now available to stream on Netflix.
Finn Wolfhard and Gregory Mann of Pinocchio talk about their collaboration with Guillermo Del Toro | Pretty Reel