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Finn Wolfhard & Gregory Mann Talk Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio Movie

Jan 3, 2023


For a production that began well over a decade ago, the long-awaited release of Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is just as exciting for its young cast members as it is for fans. Having been only 10 at the time he was cast, newcomer Gregory Mann and Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard provide the voices for the titular Pinocchio and his friend Candlewick, respectively, and were just as thrilled to see the final product as viewers.

Del Toro’s vision for Pinocchio explores the political climate of 1930s Italy, during an authoritarian regime, as well as tender interpersonal relationships between father and son, and highlights the value of disobedience. Through complex stop-motion animation, the story is infused with the fantastical elements del Toro fans have come to expect from the director, as well as through a cast of impressive vocal talent. In addition to Mann and Wolfhard, Pinocchio stars Ewan McGregor as Sebastian J. Cricket, David Bradley as Geppetto, Tilda Swinton, Christoph Waltz, Ron Perlman, and Cate Blanchett.

Pinocchio is now showing in limited theaters, as well as streaming exclusively on Netflix, and Collider’s Steve Weintraub was able to sit down with Mann and Wolfhard to talk about this masterpiece they helped bring to life so many years ago. During their interview, the actors shared what it’s like coming to the realization that they played a part in a del Toro film, and reveal which elements of the animation still blows their mind. They also let us in on some of the more difficult aspects of voice-over acting, and Wolfhard discusses his directorial debut, Hell of a Summer, with Billy Bryk, and what phase of production they’re at. You can check out all of this and more in the video above, or read the full transcript down below. For more on Pinocchio, check out Collider’s review by Ross Bonaime.

COLLIDER: Let me start by saying, I love this movie. This movie is incredible. I think you’re hearing that from probably everyone you’re talking to. For both of you, you never really know how a movie is going to turn out. What does it mean to the two of you to be part of a movie like this? That’s arguably one of the best of the year?

GREGORY MANN: I still haven’t really got my head around it, because I’ve only just realized how much of an honor it is to be part of this. Because when I was a lot younger, when I first started, I hadn’t watched that many films in my life. Only PG-rated movies.

I think I’m very happy that the movie has come out now, because I feel like I’m a lot more mature. I’ve sort of realized how incredible it is and how incredible Guillermo [del Toro] and Mark [Gustafson], and the producers and the animators are. I’m just very happy and honored.

FINN WOLFHARD: I would say something very similar. I think it’s pretty surreal working on something and seeing little storyboards and stuff like that. And then, seeing a completely finished, unbelievable movie, that was just wall-to-wall the best animators and directors and writers working on it. I always say to people, at least in the making of it, I played such a small part in it.

The real actors, and everyone [in] it, to me, are the people that really shaped all of the characters physically. I only went in for a few sessions. It’s like, “Sweet. Now this movie is out and it’s incredible? That’s awesome.” I got to come in and just hang out with the most incredible people. I’m just excited about the whole thing. The whole movie.

Image via Netflix

When you watch the film, there are so many sequences and moments that you could just sit and study, because they’re so beautifully done. When you watched the movie, [are] there one or two sequences in the film that you’re really blown away by?

WOLFHARD: The water where they’re in the boat. Just the water around them. I have no idea how they did that. It looked unbelievable. I don’t know.

MANN: Maybe the second time I watched it because when you watch a movie again you notice all the details. I was trying to figure out what the water actually was. So it was actually the same as Finn. I thought that was really, really cool. Because it looks like water, but then it doesn’t. You just don’t know what it could be.

WOLFHARD: Yeah. It could be like oil. You have no clue what it is. It’s really cool.

I think that a lot of times, people don’t really understand the recording process and what goes on behind the scenes. For people that don’t realize or don’t know, how would you describe what the recording process really is?

MANN: Especially the way Guillermo has done it, is that he doesn’t want us to act as a character. He wants us to be the character that we are. I think people, especially what they said to me, is that it seems a lot easier, but really, it’s not. Because you are just on your own in a booth.

Luckily enough, I got to work with Finn on one occasion, and David Bradley who plays Geppetto. But for most people, most of the time, you’re just in the booth. You have nothing to bounce off of. It can be very challenging when you have nothing to direct a line to, and you don’t have a costume on, or the set around you.

WOLFHARD: I agree. You come in and usually what it is, you record line by line. Mark and Guillermo will be on the other side kind of giving you notes. In our case, for our heart-to-heart scene, we were in-person together, which was awesome. Just kind of got to run through it like it was almost live-action. So that was great.

Image via Netflix

I’ve spoken to a lot of actors that have done [voice-over] stuff. They always talk about [how] they dread when they’re doing the efforts. Like the grunts.

WOLFHARD: I’m so bad at that. That, to me, is like hell for me.

MANN: Especially, the laughing.

WOLFHARD: Yeah.

MANN: I couldn’t.

WOLFHARD: I could not. Some actors are incredible fake laughers. And I can’t do it.

MANN: I think at some points it might not be me laughing. Or maybe it is me laughing, but really bad fake laughter. Because sometimes I hear it and I just can’t. It doesn’t sound like me. But that was probably one of the biggest challenges. Laughing.

WOLFHARD: The efforts for sure are difficult.

MANN: I think at one point my mom actually came in the booth to tickle me, so that I actually did laugh.

WOLFHARD: It worked.

MANN: I think that’s what worked. But I couldn’t just stand there and go, “Ha, ha, ha.”

WOLFHARD: That’s what I did, so you’re ahead of me.

Image via Netflix

Finn, I definitely want to ask you an individual question, as I’ve spoken to you a few times. You co-directed a movie. Co-wrote and co-directed a movie.

WOLFHARD: I did.

For people that aren’t familiar with it, what do you want to tell people about it? Or what can you tease?

WOLFHARD: It’s a comedy slasher film that’s set at a summer camp. It takes place at counselors’ weekend before the campers get there. All the counselors are getting the camp ready and people start getting murdered. It’s this kind of ensemble camp comedy with blood in it.

MANN: I have to watch that.

WOLFHARD: You should watch it. I’m excited for you to see it. That’ll be awesome. I co-wrote and co-directed it with Billy Bryk. We’re in the middle of editing it now. Hopefully, someone wants to put it out. That’d be awesome.

Image via Netflix

Do you have a plan? Or have you guys talked about trying to go for a festival?

WOLFHARD: That’s the thought is that we’d do something, but we are past Sundance. You never know what could be next.

My last thing for the two of you. This is a weird question, but which of your friends and family were the most excited [to hear] that you were a part of this movie?

MANN: I’m not really sure. I think, sometimes, my friends that are massive fans of Stranger Things, they’re all jealous of me that I’m with Finn. My dad is a massive fan of film in general, and a big fan of Guillermo, so he was very excited for me.

WOLFHARD: I’d say my dad and my brother were. My dad’s a gigantic Guillermo Del Toro fan, and so is my brother. They were so excited.

Pinocchio is available to stream exclusively on Netflix, and is available in limited theaters. You can check for showtimes near you here. For more from the film, check out our interview with directors del Toro and Mark Gustafson below:

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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