Oscar-winning ‘Pinocchio’ directors Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson split for new solo projects: ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Milepost 88’

“Pinocchio” co-directors Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson are going in separate but equally exciting directions. Both are continuing the partnership fostered with ShadowMachine Animation during the production of their highly lauded collaborative effort, which nabbed Netflix its very first Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

Announcing “Milepost 88,” a mystery series described as “sort of Coen brothers-esque,” Gustafson said, “Now that we’ve set a certain famous wooden boy loose on the world, I’m excited to launch another great adventure of my own in stop-motion animation.” The show will be set in Nevada’s Great Basin, where two brothers and gas station proprietors meet a traveler who has a strangely acute knowledge of their family’s history. A parallel story takes place in 1969 and follows a cosmonaut trying to become the first man to walk on the moon. Before teaming with del Toro on “Pinocchio,” Gustafson was Wes Anderson’s animation director on “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” “Milepost 88” is based on an original idea he conceived.

SEE ‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio’ lands Netflix its first animated feature Oscar

 Del Toro, on the other hand, is busy casting a live-action, Netflix-financed “Frankenstein” adaptation. The internet naturally buzzed with excitement at news that he’s eyeing Mia Goth, Andrew Garfield, and Oscar Isaac. Presumably, Garfield will play Dr. Frankenstein, Goth his love interest, and Isaac his ungodly creation. 

Before beginning production on “Frankenstein,” del Toro is scheduled to complete his stop-motion adaptation of Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro’s “The Buried Giant,” also for Netflix. The 2015 fantasy novel is set “in a fictional post-Arthurian England in which no-one is able to retain long-term memories.” “Matilda the Musical” writer Dennis Kelly penned the script with del Toro. 

SEE Netflix Top 10 (Week of March 6): ‘Luther: The Fallen Sun’ tops the English language film charts

The “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Nightmare Alley” director’s densifying schedule leaves the fate of his rumored plans to adapt H.P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness” with Phil Tippett increasingly uncertain. 

After winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature on March 12 and taking the stage with Gustafson, del Toro said, “Animation is cinema, animation is not a genre, and animation is ready to be taken to the next step. We are all ready for it. Please help us keep animation in the conversation.” Gustafson said, “It’s so good to know that this art form that we love so much, stop motion, is very much alive and well,” and gave thanks to ShadowMachine.

In addition to “Pinocchio” and “The Buried Giant,” the Portland-based animation house, founded by Alex Bulkley and Corey Campodonico, has worked with Netflix on “BoJack Horseman” and “Tuca & Bertie.” 

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