Pinocchio Directors Reveal Downsizing Dark Scene (Exclusive)

Guillermo del Toro Pinocchio It debuted on Netflix to stellar reviews, boasting a near perfect 98 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Although the project is the filmmaker’s first time directing an animated feature, del Toro’s signature dark tone can be felt throughout the picture, including a haunting opening sequence in which the Italian fascist Benito Mussolini kills the main character.

As del Toro and his directing partner Mark Gustafson tell us, Mussolini’s role has always been a part of the film in some way, way, or form. However, the opening scene was much different at first, with Carlo (Gregory Mann) being shot and killed. “We got it [Mussolini shooting Pinocchio] early on, but we were originally going to be a firing squad,” del Toro told Chris Killiam of ComicBook.com.

Adds Gustafsson, “We had a shooting team on the beach. It looked a little dark, so we came to our senses.”

While it was dark, del Toro says it wasn’t the tone that caused the opening scene to be cut. Instead, the firing squad slows the pace of the film to a crawl. “What it was, it was the tempo. We’d already shot most of that scene, but the movie made big, big pauses for a scene that wasn’t necessary,” the director continues. “We said, let’s be more reasonable and shoot him straight.”

The movie got rave reviews from anyone who saw it, including Dr. Strange Helmer Scott Derrickson.

“Just saw Pinocchio from @RealGDT. Visually stunning, dense with beautifully complex ideas about moral goodness, and a truly remarkable emotional ending,” Derrickson chirp in October. “Guillermo’s PINOCCHIO is a masterpiece. Beautiful, surreal, and wonderful. The last five minutes destroyed me. A wonderful meditation on love, mortality, and, as is common in Guillermo’s work, being loved for who you are. It will be paired annually with FANTASTIC Mr. Fox. A true delight,” writer and collaborator Longtime Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill, added.

Pinocchio is del Toro’s first animated film and stars Ewan McGregor as Sebastian J. Cricket, the cricket who lives in Pinocchio’s wooden heart and serves as the film’s storyteller. Del Toro is collaborating with The Jim Henson Company and ShadowMachine on stop-motion animation on Carlo Collodi’s novel, which follows a puppet boy brought to life. With McGregor, the voice cast also includes David Bradley as Geppetto, Gregory Mann as Pinocchio, Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, John Turturro, Ron Perlman, Tim Blake Nelson and Bourne Gorman, with Christoph Waltz and Tilda Swinton.

Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro Streaming now on Netflix.

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