Ewan McGregor to voice Jiminy Cricket in Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Pinnochio’

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“Be mindful of your thoughts, Pinocchio, they betray you”

Guillermo del Toro has set out to make a new animation based on the fantasy tale of Pinocchio. And only Obi-Wan Kenobi himself, Ewan McGregor, has been announced to voice Jiminy Cricket: the morals-obsessed sidekick of the puppet who likes to tell a tall tale or two.

Whatever you know of del Toro, you probably at least know that this is going to be very different to the 1940 animated classic that Disney produced. In fact, he’s replacing the whole context of the film and moving it to 1930s Italy during the era of fascist military government, where Benito Mussolini was Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy.

Speaking with ACE Universe, McGregor hinted that some dialogue has already been recorded before the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown, and “there may or may not be a song that needs to be recorded… I’m not sure that I’m at liberty to discuss that”. Could this be the start of a Star Wars themed musical in the future? I can only hope so.

Whilst the time frame is quite different, Guillermo del Toro seems to be more inspired by the original novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio. Published in 1883 and written by Carlo Collidi, the story was originally written in Italian. Going back to the roots of the tale even in location, then, could imply a film more dedicated to the source text than Disney was, whilst the 1930s setting might invoke much darker tones than the mouse dared to venture into. After all, Guillermo isn’t well known for being subtle!

As del Toro’s first animated directorial outing (and being stop motion animation at that), it’ll certainly be one to watch when it releases on Netflix in 2021.

Words by Harriet Metcalfe

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