Guillermo Del Toro is now wrapping up his giant monster vs robots flick ‘Pacific Rim’ over at Warner Brothers. Next up on his plate is an adaptation of the classic tale of ‘Pinocchio’. Of course, where Del Toro is involved, you know there’s a twist. The twist this time around is that Del Toro’s version of ‘Pinocchio’ will be based on a 2002 version of ‘Pinocchio’ as illustrated by goth artist Gris Grimly.

‘Pinocchio’ was first announced back in 2008 when Del Toro began working on the project as producer and Jim Henson Co. was onboard to work on the 3D stop-motion animation for the project. Since that initial announcement, there have been several changes in the directors seats. At first Grimly was set to direct alongside Adam Parrish King. Last year, King dropped out and Mark Gustafson came on board as co-director with Grimly. Gustafson was the animation director on Wes Anderson’s ‘The Fantastic Mr. Fox’.

Now Variety is reporting that Del Toro has decided to step in to co-direct the movie himself alongside Gustafson. There was no word in the report whether Grimly was still on board. To explain this change of heart, Del Toro says, “Little by little, I realized that I should direct”, citing that he loved the story of ‘Pinocchio’, so much so that the 1940 Disney film inspired him to build his own collection of puppets.

'Pinocchio' concept art based on Gris Grimly's original artwork


This new version of ‘Pinocchio’ will be, if possible, even darker than the Disney version. The story has been updated and is now set in the period between World War I and World War II when, as Del Toro puts it, “everyone was behaving like a puppet except for puppets.”

In a description of the story, Del Toro describes his darker vision…

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.

Sounds pretty darn creepy to me. Besides, when you combine Gris Grimly’s artistic style with Henson’s magic and Del Toro’s masterful storytelling, the end result is sure to be something unique and special.

What do you think? Are you ready for a darker and more mysterious adaptation of the classic ‘Pinocchio’ tale? Voice off in the comment section below and let us know.