An enthusiastic rendition of Happy Birthday rang through the auditorium at the world premiere of Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio as the London audience was informed Gregory Mann, the film’s lead voice actor, had just turned 13.
Mann was joined on stage by Del Toro, co-director Mark Gustafson, and cast members Cate Blanchett, Christoph Waltz, David Bradley, and the film’s composer, Alexandre Desplat.
“We have been on this journey for about 14, 15 years, which means it’s half of my fucking career,” del Toro said of the film as he introduced the screening.
London Film Festival Review: 'Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio'
The stop-motion flick is Del Toro’s take on the classic fairy tale about a wooden marionette brought to life to mend the heart of a grieving woodcarver named Geppetto. The film is a much darker version of the tale and is set against the backdrop of Benito Mussolini’s fascist dictatorship in Italy.
Discussing the film’s tone, Del Toro said the flick is “not a movie made for kids,” but children can watch the film if “their parents talk to them.”
Pinocchio will be released theatrically by Netflix in November before it hits the streamer on December 9. The film is the first of two forthcoming collaborations between del Toro and Netflix. The second, titled Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, is an anthology horror series featuring eight new tales — including two original works by del Toro — brought to life by a team of writers and directors personally chosen by the Nightmare Alley filmmaker.
Speaking about the development of the remake, Del Toro said he worked on the film for many years and many people passed on the project. Only Netflix, he said, was willing to take a plunge on the film.
“Everybody said no until Netflix and Ted Sarandos said yes, and that’s all it takes,” he said.
Later during the introduction, the moderator turned to Christoph Waltz, who plays the evil Count Volpe in the film, and asked him why he decided to join the film, to which he responded: “Look, it’s quite simple, Guillermo called and we said yes.”
Del Toro ended the introduction by telling the audience that over 1000 days of shooting were completed on the film, which was heavily inspired by his mother, who recently died.
“My mother just passed away. This is not only the first time you are seeing the movie but it is also the first time she will see the movie,” he said.
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