Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion ‘Pinocchio’ is set in fascist Italy

guillermo del toro
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 06: Guillermo del Toro appears at the Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony honoring Guillermo del Toro on August 06, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The concept of ‘twin films’ is hardly a new phenomenon, and while the two projects in question can often be largely indecipherable from each other in the broadest strokes, nobody’s going to get next year’s competing Pinocchio movies mixed up.

On one hand, we have Disney’s big budget hybrid of live-action and CGI, which has Robert Zemeckis directing and reuniting with his Forrest Gump and Cast Away star Tom Hanks, who plays Gepetto in the streaming exclusive. On the other, Netflix have a dark, stop-motion musical fantasy on the way, with Guillermo del Toro behind the camera.

You wait years for a new del Toro feature to come around, only to end up with two in quick succession. Naturally, both the recent Nightmare Alley and next year’s Pinocchio feature the filmmaker’s lucky charm Ron Perlman, who revealed in an interview with Inverse that the latter unfolds against the backdrop of Mussolini’s fascist 1930s Italy.

“Well, Guillermo’s Pinocchio is set in Mussolini’s Italy, which is a Fascist backdrop. The conceit of the film is that Pinocchio is the perfect soldier because he’s not human. So he doesn’t ever question orders. He doesn’t have fears. He’s invulnerable. He’s all the things the perfect soldier needs to be.”

Looking at del Toro’s back catalogue, we can assume that his Pinocchio is going to be about as far away from the Disney version that’s permeated pop culture as you could possibly imagine. The man loves nothing more than lavish, fantastical stories about complicated misfits, so this one’s right up his street.