Coraline Director Henry Selick Leaves Animation Studio Laika
After working at the Portland, OR-based animation studio Laika for five years, writer/director Henry Selick has decided to leave the studio to work elsewhere. Selick had been looking for another feature to oversee, but with his contract up and no next project in place for him to tackle, he decided to move on. Selick's last stop-animation feature film Coraline wasn't exactly a smash success, but it did earn a respectable $75 million at the US box office. As Anne Thompson said: "It seems odd that when a movie breaks out and does as well as Coraline, that the filmmaker would leave the animation company behind it."
Before joining Laika, Selick was best known for directing The Nightmare Before Christmas. Animators who worked on Coraline with Selick credit his experience and artistic vision with bringing the film to life, but others complain privately that he was an exceedingly demanding boss, according to OregonLive.com. "Throughout our five years of collaboration, Henry has been variously my director, my mentor, and my friend," Laika's CEO Travis Knight said in a statement today. "I will miss him and wish him well in his future projects." The animation studio is currently figuring out what their next feature project will be.
Selick doesn't have another project setup at the moment, but seemed enthusiastic about a few ideas when I interviewed him earlier this year. I'm a big fan of Selick and his work and I especially loved Coraline. I don't know about his work ethic and the way he treated the animators at Laika, but I do know that all the work definitely payed off, and the film looks beautiful (even in comparison to other stop-animated movies like Fantastic Mr. Fox). I'll be curious to see what Laika does next and see what Selick decides to direct next, at whatever studio he ends up at. Though I'm sure both Selick and Laika will continue produce great films.