Guillermo del Toro‘s love for movies and the people who make them is readily apparent throughout his entire filmography. He regularly dishes out praise and words of wisdom to working filmmakers and recently offered more advice to aspiring directors in a joint interview with one of the stars of del Toro’s new stop-motion Pinocchio adaptation, Finn Wolfhard.
Guillermo del Toro delivered some advice for Finn Wolfhard and other young directors
Guillermo del Toro and Finn Wolfhard appeared on an episode of Wired‘s Autocomplete Interview series. About 3:14 into the video, they are asked if Wolfhard is directing a movie, to which the answer is yes. In addition to his acting career and musical side project, The Aubreys, Wolfhard also makes moves behind the camera. He wrote and directed a short film called Night Shifts in 2020 and is currently working on his unannounced feature debut. He told NME that the movie is a slasher comedy at a camp.
Del Toro then gives his collaborator some advice that could easily apply to anyone hoping to pursue the profession. He thinks the two qualities a director must have, above all, are patience and serenity and that it’s best to show your film to close friends “before your enemies see it.”
Later in the video, he explains that anyone who desires to direct movies doesn’t need to get into the industry to start doing so. There are valuable resources at their fingertips.
“I always say when people tell me ‘we want to be directors’ I say ‘hey, you should already be [a director]’” del Toro says. “I mean, you can direct without a camera. You can direct with an iPhone. You can direct with anything now. You can start telling little stories about breakfast or other things. I mean, just simple stories. Somebody going from one room to the next, tell that story. And you’re directing.”
Del Toro’s star-studded version of ‘Pinocchio’ is a little different than others
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is not the only adaptation released on a major streaming platform this year. In September, Disney released their version directed by Robert Zemeckis on Disney+, becoming the latest live-action remake to flop hard with audiences.
Del Toro spent over a decade trying to get this movie made, and his interpretation of the story is very different than any other Pinocchio movie before. Instead of taking place in a fairy tale setting, it is set in fascist Italy between World War I and World War II. (Tom Kenny, aka SpongeBob SquarePants, voices Benito Mussolini.) The environment sets the tone for a more grounded take on Pinocchio, allowing del Toro and his co-writer Patrick McHale to change the personalities of many characters or simply eliminate them.
The main villain is Count Volpe (Christoph Waltz), a failed aristocrat who inhabits traits from the Fox, Mangiafuoco, and the Ringmaster. The Coachman from the source material is swapped out for the Podesta (Ron Perlman), a government official who wants to turn Pinocchio into a soldier. Wolfhard plays his son, Candlewick, who starts as a bully for the wooden puppet before becoming a friend to him.
Pinocchio himself is voiced by newcomer Gregory Mann, but the rest of the cast is filled with big names. Ewan McGregor plays a more pompous version of Sebastian J. Cricket, Cate Blanchett plays Spazzatura, Count Volpe’s monkey assistant, and Tilda Swinton plays the Wood Sprite that brings Pinocchio to life and Death, the overseer of the afterlife who takes the form of a chimera.
The movie may be in line for some Oscars this year
The reception to Pinocchio has been overwhelmingly positive, setting the movie up to get Academy Award nominations in several categories.
A nod for Best Animated Feature seems all but assured, considering the relative lack of high-profile contenders this year other than Turning Red. You could also make a case it deserves to be in the conversation for one of the 10 Best Picture slots, but only three cartoons have been recognized for that award in the 94-year history of the ceremony.
Guillermo del Toro’s movies are always incredibly well-designed and enjoyable to look at, and Pinocchio is a new highlight in his career. The film’s considered and striking aesthetic should earn it further nominations for Best Production Design and Best Visual Effects. The soundtrack has also been praised, with the song “Ciao Papa” providing another possible avenue for Pinocchio to be recognized by the Academy.