Guillermo del Toro merges the
pinocchio version which premieres this Friday in cinema with its own biography to create an animated fable about parents and children that goes beyond the work created by Carlo Collodi. Del Toro used to go to the movies with his older brother, but there was one movie he saw with his mother that bonded them for the rest of their lives: Walt Disney’s 194 animated classic, “Pinocchio.” Since then he has wanted to bring to the screen this story of the wooden puppet that ends up coming to life. Frustrated by the rejection, the Mexican did not give up in the face of refusals and finally manages to make the dream come true.
“Why did you want to revisit the story of Pinocchio?”
I saw the movie when I was a kid. I think it was the first or second movie I’d seen with my mom and I’ve always thought it was the only story that captures what it means to be a kid. Since then, it has been on my mind because it represents the essence of being loved. I started thinking about the script since I was young. First I developed it with clay, because I’ve been working in animation all my life, and then around 22 a Pinocchio book was published with illustrations by Grimly Gray which I thought was perfect for developing my film. However, we were rejected by all the studies in 28. They all told us no. I wanted it to be part of a trilogy together with ‘El Laberinto del Fauno’ about the delicacy of a child surrounded by war. That has been the path. A path that I have also followed as a father and son. I have learned things that I did wrong as a son and things that my father did wrong as a father. Mistakes that I have repeated as a father trying to avoid them. I have tried to include what I have learned in my 58 years of life and that is why it ends by saying: what happens, happens and then we are finished. I have done it with all my humility and respect. It’s actually a biography. It doesn’t matter if it’s a great movie, or science fiction with effects, or an intimate movie, whenever I make a movie I’m talking about things that matter to me.
—What is your fascination with stop motion animation?
—I wanted to make a movie where everyone behaves like a puppet except the puppet, and to do it with puppets. When everyone says they’re not a puppet, they really are. I think it was important to use this medium that I’ve grown up with, because I’ve had a stop motion animation company for ten years and it was a universe that I wanted to return to. We have tried to show a reality with the tenderness and skill that this medium prints. Unfortunately, animation is considered a genre for children and it is not. It is cinema for all audiences. I think it is a genre that produces emotion and is very beautiful. The interpretation of this film has nothing to do with the mime of animation. We have created real interpretations.
—Pinocchio is a musical, when did you decide on that format?
—With the writer, Patrick McHale, we came up with the idea of including songs in the first part of the film and then, when the fascists show up, stop singing. We have had fun with the cricket because he has the best voice and everyone expects him to sing, but he is destroyed every time he tries to sing. The film is built with fathers and sons:
gepetto and pinocchio, Gepetto and Carlo, even Jesus and his father have a very tense relationship. He wanted the songs to show the evolution of all relationships and, at the same time, for the audience to understand that these songs lead us towards war.
—Is the musical depth of this film important?
-Yes. Above all it is important for a Mexican because we sing all the time. We are talking about life. There is a very beautiful poem by Jaime Sabines in Mexico that says: “All my life I have heard a voice that says, live, live, live.” I have tried to examine life, putting an end to all claims to immortality.
—Was part of the film shot during the pandemic?
—We started in person and then we had to work on Zoom, yes. This film was partially shot in Mexico, where I started out as an animator. The puppets were shot in Manchester, England, because they were made with mechanical puppets and not CGA. But the animation was an important part because we shot thousands of images of 18 Pinocchios, 22 Geppettos, 2 Churches: shooting with 62 units at the same time. We moved each puppet 42 times per second to photograph. In Mexico, we had 5 directing units working at the same time, recording mainly Limbo.
Guillermo del Toro premieres ‘Pinocchio’: “I have tried to put an end to all claims to immortality” It is an original content of ABC.es