Laika Studios, the stop-motion animation company behind the charming Coraline and this year’s promising ParaNorman, have decided on their next project. Per Variety, the studio will next adapt Philip Reeve’s book Goblins, with Mark Gustafson onboard to direct. Gustafson previously served as animation director on Fantastic Mr. Fox and was recently hired to direct Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion take on Pinocchio. The story of Goblins centers on a clever young goblin who lives among his slightly less-mannered bretheren. “Only he understands that an ancient evil is rising that will bring all manner of monsters and mythical creatures into an epic magical conflict.”
I really enjoyed Coraline and ParaNorman is one of my most anticipated releases of the year, so the fantastical world of Goblins sounds like a perfect fit for Laika. The studio’s CEO Travis Knight noted that the material will make “a strange, stirring, and altogether beautiful film.” Count me in. Hit the jump to read a synopsis of the book.
The Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy was always more storyteller than singer, so it’s about time he put down the guitar and try a full-on novel. The wise folks over at Laika think it’s good—or at least good enough for a movie. The animation studio behind Coraline has optioned the rights to Meloy’s young-adult fantasy novel Wildwood. The story is set in alternate version of Portland, Oregon, where both Laika and The Decemberists are based. The book is intended to be the first in a trilogy about Prue McKneel, “a young lady who must confront a world filled with magic and danger after her younger brother is kidnapped, forcing her to enter the Impassable Wilderness.” Laika president Travis Knight hopes the movie will be the first in a trilogy.
Hit the jump for more from Knight (including a Lord of the Rings comparison) and a full synopsis of the book.
A few days ago I sat down with director Henry Selick (“Coraline”, “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, “James and the Giant Peach”) for a very extensive interview. While I spoke to him earlier this year before “Coraline” got released, with Focus Features trying to get “Coraline” nominated for Best Animated Feature (it absolutely deserves a nomination!) Selick has been talking to journalists and I was lucky enough to land a spot. While we touched on “Coraline”, most of the interview covered other subjects. Since most of you might not have the time to watch the entire interview, here are some highlights. But if you’re a fan of Henry Selick, you definitely want to watch the interview after the jump as it was great.
- Says his next project might be another collaboration with Gaiman. If it’s not the next one, it’s the project after the next one. Says there are some issues to deal with before production could start.
- I ask what might be his next project if it’s not with Gaiman. Says he wrote an original treatment years ago (it’s 84 pages) and that might be the next project. Says it’s tonally another scary film for kids. Calls it a cousin of Coraline.
- In the next two weeks a lot is going to be known about his next project. He is working out a deal with a studio right now. Says he is unsure if they will announce one project or 3 or 4 projects as a lot is coming together right now
- Talks about why he left Laika Studios
- Reveals he was going to work with Wes Anderson on Fantastic Mr. Fox but when financing came in for Coraline, he had to drop out. Says when they worked together on The Life Aquatic they talked about it.
- Wants to do a midnight re-release of Coraline and call it “Coraline Unfixed”. In this edition you wouldn’t see any of the digital fixes. He explains what the edition would entail in the interview. It sounds awesome.
- They have spoken to him about the James and the Giant Peach Blu-ray
- Talks about a sequence that was never used in Nightmare Before Christmas and how it’s gone and may never be seen. It’s a head credit sequence that was animated candy corn.
- Wants to remaster all his short films and his MTV work and release it on DVD/Blu-ray. Says all the elements have been assembled and he just has to find the time to do it.
Again, if you’re a fan, you definitely want to watch this interview:
Talk about a major free agent. Henry Selick, the acclaimed director of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is leaving Laika, the studio behind his latest success, “Coraline.” The move is surprising since Selick’s work had almost singlehandedly built up Laika’s reputation as a premier producer of animation. Selick arrived in 2004, right as Nike executive Phil Knight acquired Will Vinton studios and immediately began to turn around the studios fortunes. 2005 saw the award-winning short “Moongirl” and again this past year saw the critical and commercial success of “Coraline.” To find out why Selick is moving on, frame by frame, hit the jump.