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Del Toro, Henson Co. assembling ‘Pinocchio’

Stop-motion 3D feature to be developed, produced by Pathe

Guillermo Del Toro and The Jim Henson Co. are moving ahead with their long-in-development version of the “Pinocchio” fairy tale as a stop-motion feature.

Del Toro and Henson announced Thursday that Pathe has come on to develop and produce the 3D project with production starting later this year.

Del Toro disclosed in 2008 that he had began working with Henson and Gris Grimly, who illustrated a 2002 version of “Pinocchio.” At that point, Grimly and Adam Parrish King were attached to co-direct but the Thursday announcement said Grimly will co-direct with Mark Gustafson, the animation Director on “The Fantastic Mr. Fox.”

“I believe that our tale of Pinocchio recaptures the darker, more daunting aspects of the book

that have been missing from previous film incarnations and takes advantage of all the allegorical

aspects of the tale,” Del Toro said.

Pinocchio first appeared in the 19th century book “The Adventures of Pinocchio” by Carlo Collodi. Walt Disney produced the first feature version of the story with his animated “Pinocchio” in 1940.

In the new version, Pinocchio will embark on a series of adventures and prove himself to be as indestructible as his love for his father. Del Toro and frequent collaborator Matthew Robbins have been developing the story

over the past year, and Robbins penned the screenplay.

Del Toro will produce with Lisa Henson and Jason Lust of Henson Co. and Allison Abbate (“The Fantastic Mr. Fox”). Gary Ungar will exec produce with Francois Ivernel and Cameron McCracken for Pathe, with Nick Cave as music consultant for the production.

UK-based MacKinnon and Saunders will help develop the puppets and 3D. “Stop motion animation will be a new style of telling this well-known tale, a hand-crafted style with which we were eager to work since it requires a high level of artistry and craftsmanship that is similar to the work of The Jim Henson Company,” said Lisa Henson.

Del Toro recently produced “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” for Miramax and “JUlia’s Eyes” for Focus.

Pinocchio first appeared in the 19th century book “The Adventures of Pinocchio” by Carlo Collodi. Walt Disney produced the first feature version of the story with his animated “Pinocchio” in 1940.

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