But while political otherness will feature heavily in the film, that's apparently not going to be the focal point of its dark nature. That would instead be Pinocchio being a wretched abomination with no soul. Del Toro sees Pinocchio more like a pint-sized Frankenstein's monster. In this, he gets much closer to the spirit of the original, disturbing book about the wooden boy.
Author Carlo Collodi, who wrote Pinocchio in 1881-1882, came from the Grimm school of children's book authors who secretly hate children and want them to be miserable and obedient. In the original tale, Pinocchio is less of a splintery Disney protagonist and more a tortured wood golem who murders Jiminy Cricket with a hammer, gets his flesh ripped off by ravenous fish, and is hanged by a mob in what was originally the end of the story. Honestly, it's puzzling there aren't more fan theories about how the killer from Saw is an adult Pinocchio who learned all the wrong crafting lessons in Geppetto's workshop.
Still, we're most excited about the "Pinocchio during the rise of Mussolini" part of the pitch, as it will open the mainstream to that rarest of Disney fanfic: alternate historical fiction. So be on the lookout for future film deals like "Mulan in the Cultural Revolution," "Frozen during the viking conquest of Britain," and "The Lion King, but Timon is actually a reincarnated meerkat Hitler."