Guillermo Del Toro, Henson And Pathe Build <i>Pinocchio</i>

What do you get when you mix creators and companies known for their abilities to make amazing tales of fantasy? Well, we're about to find out with the 3D stop-motion animated film Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro, The Jim Henson Company and Pathe.

Deadline reports the film will be a much darker take on the Carlo Collodi fairy tale than the 1940 Disney classic that most identity with the story. The project, first mentioned by del Toro is 2008, is based on a 2002 illustrated adaptation by Gris Grimly, who will co-direct with Mark Gustafson.

Del Toro developed the storyline with Matthew Robbins, who pens the script and previously collaborated with him on scripts for Don't Be Afraid of the Dark and the upcoming At the Mountains of Madness.

As to the reported edgier take on the story, del Toro told Deadline: "The Blue Fairy is really a dead girl’s spirit. Pinocchio has strange moments of lucid dreaming bordering on hallucinations, with black rabbits. The sperm whale that swallows Pinocchio was actually a giant dogfish, which allows for more classical scale and design. The many mishaps Pinocchio goes through include several near-death close calls, a lot more harrowing moments. The key with this is not making any of it feel gratuitous, because the story is integrated with moments of comedy and beauty. He’s one of the great characters, whose purity and innocence allows him to survive in this bleak landscape of robbers and thugs, emerging from the darkness with his soul intact."

Del Toro will produce the feature along with Allison Abbate and the Jim Henson Company's Lisa Henson and Jason Lust. Gary Ungar will executive produce with Pathe's Francois Ivernel and Cameron McCracken.

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