Alexandre Desplat Scores Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio
An annotated music sheet from Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio.

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio Score

Alexandre Desplat writes an original score for Guillermo del Toro's first musical, an adaptation of the fairy tale.

12 October 20222 min read

The last time writer-director Guillermo del Toro collaborated with acclaimed French composer Alexandre Desplat on a feature film, it was for 2017’s Oscar-winning triumph The Shape of Water. Now, the lauded duo reunites for Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, the gorgeous old world fairytale that represents the Mexican auteur’s first stop-motion animated film, and his first musical, with nine original songs performed throughout the movie.

Del Toro and Desplat began collaborating on Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio back in 2019, before any animated sequences had been completed. “It was very early stages,” Desplat says. “I had to imagine what it would be.” Working largely from the script and character designs, the creative team, which grew to include lyricist Roeban Katz, jumped from song to song whenever inspiration struck. “Like a bee, we were buzzing from one to another, slowly but surely building the songs,” Desplat says.

Alexandre Desplat conducts an orchestra.

Alexandre Desplat

For the score, Desplat challenged himself to create an orchestral sound that “belongs only to Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio . . .” he says, and which, like the film itself, “could be weird, strange, mysterious, have a sense of fantasy, be intimate, be also wild and strong and loud.” 

“For the songs, there’s, like, a jazz combo where it’s two electric guitars, drums, acoustic bass, mandolin, piano, and on top of that we’ve recorded a full orchestra with sometimes an accordion,” Desplat says. “There are some shining moments, we were free to do whatever we wanted.”