Saturday, November 15, 2008

Henson Co. teams with del Toro and Grimly for "Pinocchio"

A new version of "Pinocchio" is on its way to the big screen -- this retelling of the classic fairy tale will be produced by The Jim Henson Company, co-directed by acclaimed children's illustrator Gris Grimly and executive produced by renowned director Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, The Hobbit).

The Jim Henson Company's adaptation will be done produced as a stop-motion animated feature film. Brian Henson, Lisa Henson and Jason Lust will serve as producers on the project, while Guillermo del Toro will assit with the writing and producing duties.

The aim of the project is to make a darker retelling of the famous fairy tale about the wooden puppet who dreams of becoming a real boy. Based on the 2002 children's book illustrated by Gris Grimly, when Pinocchio comes to life, the puppet turns out to be not such a nice boy after all. Pinocchio enjoys nothing better than creating mischief and playing tricks. As he discovers, being bad is much more fun than being good -- for a while, anyway. Happily for Pinocchio, he learns that there is much more to being a real boy than just having fun.

Guillermo del Toro commented on the production in a recent interview stating, "We are trying to get a full stop-motion version of Gris Grimly's Pinocchio off the ground, with the Jim Henson Company. The idea came from Gris, and everybody loves his book about it. The original story is far more perverse and spooky and semi-necrophilia vibe to it in certain aspects. Gris certainly has that vein in him, he wants to do this with that original spookiness in it, we are trying to get it going. The Jim Henson Company is behind it and we are currently working on the screenplay!" He added that it might take up to three years to finish the project its entirety (as producing a full-length stop-motion film takes time), so it's unlikely that we'll be seeing this film hit theaters in the next few years.

Gris Grimly will be co-directing the epic along Adam Parrish King, whose "The Wraith of Cobble Hill" won the short filmmaking award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award. I will be sure to keep you updated as soon as more information on this exciting new film becomes available.


The Griffin said...

This has potential to be amazing. I am so excited. And... could this possibly be the start of a good friendship between del Toro and the Henson Co., two of the ( or at least my) top creators of fantasy? I'm getting goosebumps thinking about the potential!

Iris said...

Between del Toro and Grimly I trust the vulgar reality (meant in a good way) will remain in the tale. This is one of my favorite stories because it really throws your emotions around--pity, joy, disappointment, frustration, triumph...If the three can come up with a way to leave the heart in the story and add the elements of Collodi lacking from the Disney version this should be great!

Vaughn Michael said...

So this is going to be like Nightmare Before christmas but with Pinocchio..I'm a bit dissapointed it's not puppets.
Seems as if the Hensons are trying to get away from that stuff.

Anonymous said...

"Seems as if the Hensons are trying to get away from that stuff."

Maybe selling the Muppets was our first clue?

I think the Hensons are becoming form-agnostic: puppets, stop-motion, digital, animation, whatever form tells a particular story best.

And if it matters, I think it's exactly what Jim - who never started out to be a puppeteer anyway - would have done.

frogboy4 said...

It appears to be stop motion puppetry to me. I find projects like this, Nightmare, Corpse Bride and Coraline to be shining examples of classic methods of film making and animation in a world gone wild with slick computer imagery. People like Zemekis and Spielberg appear to have forgotten the connection an audience has with practical effects.

I have always felt that Henson to be more about craftsmanship than just classic puppetry. This seems to combine them both. I'll be first in line three or so years from now. This kicks MirrorMask CG butt.

Anonymous said...

How about a Muppet blog that reports
on the latest MUPPET news?
Is there a way to filter out anything non-muppety?

This blog seems like almost an annual report for the Henson corporation at times.

I'm grouchy because I care deeply for Hensons' creations.
Not cgi animated franchises that make them money and alienate muppet fans.
Just call it something else!
Slapping the word Muppet or Henson on something irritates people looking for Henson and Co's creations.
I guess the average Muppet fan doesn't really understand or agree with Jim Henson's supposed desire to expand the company drastically in different forms and francises.
If I annoy or seem trolly I'm sorry.

Anonymous said...

You don't seem "trolly", but your post does seem a bit oddly overly angry.

Jim created several different worlds besides The Classic Muppet characters and always viewed The Muppets as just one part of his career and ambitions (a large and hugely loved one yes but he always had several irons in the fire)

Today his original creations are divided among three companies: Sesame Workshop, Disney, and the Jim Henson Company. Each company has several different projects going. And while not every single fan is going to be interested in every single project/world that SW, Muppets Holding Company, and JHC is doing, many do and the newsflash does a great job of keeping track of it all. Maybe you may not care for Sid the Science Kid or Farscape or even non-Muppet worlds Jim was directly involved with like Dark Crystal, but it's not like the actual Muppet news itself isn't being reported on regularly and in fact at this time in particular, there's probably more stuff for Muppet fans to be excited about than ever, and it's really just the beginning of the "Muppet Renaissance" fans have talked about for years. So i could understand your frustration a bit more if there was indeed a lot of news stories here that were anything and everything BUT the Muppets but that's just not the case - it's there! Granted aside from the Muppets Taking Over The Today Show, this week has been kind of a "slow Muppet News" week...but in all honesty those just interested in Muppet news only shouldn't feel so discouraged.

And to answer your question as if there's a way to filter out anything "non-muppety"...actually there is! Depending on your browser, look at either the bottom of the page or the right of it and you'll see links where you can group news stories by subjects. The first one is news stories about "The Muppets". Click on that link and then bookmark it! Then whenever you visit the Newsflash, use that link and you'll only see news about Muppets.

Greg said...

While the name of the blog is "The Muppet Newsflash", (as the logo says right at the top of the page) the Muppet Newsflash is "A Jim Henson News Blog". We strive to cover everything and anything related to Jim Henson -- Muppets, Fraggles, Sesame, Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Bear in the Big Blue House, Muppet Babies, Farscape, Puppet Up, Creature Shop, Henson Company, and even Jim's early non-puppetry films (such as Time Piece and The Cube). This blog is a tribute to Henson's entire body of work and enduring legacy and spirit – we do not just focus on the troupe of puppet characters (currently owned by Disney) that came from "The Muppet Show" and its subsequent films and spin-offs. The blog covers news from Disney’s Muppets Studio, Sesame Workshop, The Jim Henson Company, and the Jim Henson Legacy.

And while you personally may not be interested in (or even agree with) every project the Henson Company decides to produce, I'm not going to sit back discriminate arbitrarily on what I do and do not report. I report the news and let the readers take what they want. Many readers here enjoy the Henson Company news. Some people come just for the Sesame Street updates, others are only about the Fraggles, and others want it all. There is plenty of space on the blog for all the news - I'm not withholding Muppet news in favor of Henson Company news - I report it all!

And as the previous Anonymous poster said, there is a way to filter the blog by subject - just follow the "new by subject" links on the right hand side of the blog and pick what news topic you want to view.

frogboy4 said...

As graphic designer of another Muppet site I still check this one first for the skinny on all things Muppet, Sesame and Henson. I think Greg does a heck of a job here. This is by far the best news source I have found. I wouldn't change a thing!

Henson Co has made some weird decisions in the past year or so, but that's their doing. As chief reporter on that subject the Newsflash must cover it all and does so with great efficiency and style.

Anonymous said...

Well Jim Henson was always looking on how to create. Ethier with Foam Rubber and fur or with clay, or with even computers. Watching the Jim Henson Hour will show you that. I think that since the Muppets are now going in the right direction, that Henson can do movies like this. Jim Henson was constanly thinking outside the box so why should the company named after him do the same? Whether with the Muppets or byond!