Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio rounds out cast with Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, more
When you wish upon a star, you get a lot more stars in return. Such is the case with director Guillermo del Toro's stop-motion animated Pinocchio film for Netflix.
Following the slip of the tongue that led to the reveal of Ewan McGregor in the voice role of Cricket, the streamer announced the rest of the principal cast who were quietly tapped for the musical feature.
Del Toro's Nightmare Alley star Cate Blanchett, The French Dispatch's Tilda Swinton, Watchmen standout Tim Blake Nelson, Stranger Things' Finn Wolfhard, James Bond actor Christoph Waltz, The Plot Against America's John Turturro, del Toro's frequent collaborator Ron Perlman, and Enola Holmes' Burn Gorman have all been confirmed for the voice cast.
Revealed in specific roles are newcomer Gregory Mann with the starring part of Pinocchio and Harry Potter actor David Bradley as the voice of woodcarver Geppetto.
"After years of pursuing this dream project, I found my perfect partner in Netflix," del Toro said in a statement. "We have spent a long time curating a remarkable cast and crew and have been blessed by continuous support from Netflix to quietly and carefully soldier on, barely missing a beat. We all love and practice animation with great passion and believe it to be the ideal medium to retell this classic story in a completely new way."
Pinocchio, inspired by Gris Grimley's imagery and set during the rise of Fascism in Mussolini’s Italy, is the retelling of the classic Carlo Collodi tale about a puppet who is magically brought to life. The film is a story of love and disobedience as Pinocchio struggles to live up to his father’s expectations, per a brief logline.
Del Toro directs Pinocchio with Fantastic Mr. Fox's Mark Gustafson. He also co-wrote the script with Patrick McHale. The Shape of Water Oscar winner previously compared the story to Frankenstein in that "they are both about creatures that are created and then get lost in a world they don’t understand. And they are both journeys of understanding, and journeys of evolution of the spirit."
Not unlike how Netflix and Disney developed Jungle Book adaptations around the same time, the Mouse House is also currently looking to Tom Hanks to play Gepetto in a live-action Pinoccho.
While del Toro's Nightmare Alley stalled filming in light of the pandemic, production on Pinocchio kept on keeping on. McGregor revealed in a virtual panel in June that he already logged most of his Cricket dialogue for the film and teased "there may or may not be a song that needs to be recorded."
With this latest update for Pinocchio, del Toro strikes a multi-year deal with Netflix to spearhead new movie and TV projects in various capacities as a writer, director, and producer. He notably developed the animated Tales of Arcadia saga for Netflix, which includes Trollhunters, 3Below, Wizards, and now Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated Tilda Swinton will voice the Turquoise Fairy. Netflix has not confirmed which character she will portray.