Cannes: ‘Harry Potter’ Effects Wizard Nick Dudman Joins Live-Action ‘Pinocchio’ (EXCLUSIVE)

MUFX Supervisor - Nick Dudman with Warwick Davis (Griphook) on location at the beach by Shell Cottage. (SC181)
Jaap Buitendijk

Oscar-nominated “Harry Potter” makeup and creature-effects wizard Nick Dudman is set to bring his blockbuster artistry to Italian director Matteo Garrone’s new live-action “Pinocchio,” which HanWay is selling at the Cannes Film Festival.

“Mr. Dudman is one of the greatest film artists in the world,” said Garrone, who was prepared to delay production on the project for a year in order to secure Dudman’s services. “I consider myself lucky to collaborate with an artist whose talent and skills are complemented by great humbleness and devotion to his work. I have immediately found a great affinity with him and can’t wait to start this experience.”

Dudman told Variety that the new Italian-language “Pinocchio” will have a “flavor and look that’s quintessentially Italian” and will be different from what audiences are used to seeing in mainstream fantasy films. “It’s a very personal journey for Matteo,” Dudman said. “They are doing something very different from previous versions. It’s very dark.”

“’Pinocchio’ is a dream of mine that goes back to when I was a child,” says Garrone. “On my desk I still have my own personal ‘Pinocchio’ story-board that I drew and colored in when I was a kid, and which is one of my most cherished mementos.”

Renowned for his prosthetic makeup and creature-design work, Dudman has worked with such directors as Ridley Scott, George Lucas, Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan over a four-decade career. He worked on all eight “Harry Potter” movies, and received an Oscar nomination for the last one, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.”

He has been nominated for eight BAFTA Film awards, winning for Luc Besson’s “The Fifth Element,” and received consecutive Primetime Emmy nominations for his work on Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful,” which also won him a BAFTA Craft award.

The new “Pinocchio,” based on Carlo Collodi’s classic tale, is also written by Garrone. It reunites the director with his “Gomorrah” star Toni Servillo, who will play Geppetto, as well as with his “Tale of Tales” producers Jeremy Thomas and Jean Labardie. Dudman will be credited as prosthetic makeup effects designer. Production is expected to begin in early 2018 in Sicily, Calabria and Tuscany.

Oscar-winner Thomas (“The Last Emperor”) of the U.K.’s Recorded Picture Company will produce “Pinocchio” alongside Labadie of France’s Le Pacte and Garrone’s Archimede Film in association with Rai Cinema. Rai Cinema is set to release the film in Italy while Le Pacte will handle France.