By Mack Chico
A new version of “Pinocchio” is on its way to the big screen, this one to be co-directed by acclaimed children’s book illustrator Gris Grimly and executive produced by Guillermo del Toro.
The adaptation, being made by the Jim Henson Co., will be done as a stop-motion animated feature. Henson co-CEOs Brian Henson and Lisa Henson and senior vp feature films Jason Lust are producing.
The aim is to make a dark, twisted retelling of the famous Carlo Collodi fairy tale about the wooden puppet who dreams of becoming a real boy. In the retelling, when Pinocchio comes to life, he turns out not to be that nice of a boy, creating mischief and playing mean tricks. He eventually learns a few lessons. The story and the look of the feature will be based on the 2002 children’s book illustrated by Grimly, who is repped by Gotham Group.
Sitting with Grimly in the director’s chair will be Adam Parrish King, whose “The Wraith of Cobble Hill” won the short filmmaking award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award in the shorts category.
News of del Toro’s involvement initially broke on the horror Web site Bloody-Disgusting.
The new incarnation of “Pinocchio” looks to have better luck than the previous attempt, which involved Francis Ford Coppola. In 1991, Coppola tried to set up a live-action version at Warners; after an impasse emerged, he tried to set it up at Columbia. The project disintegrated in a costly lawsuit.