Focus Features & Laika Team-Up for Two More Stop-Motion Projects
Big news for Portland-based animation house Laika. Focus Features, also behind Coraline, is re-teaming with Laika for two more upcoming stop-motion animated features next. The first is a project called ParaNorman, which is already scheduled for August 17th, 2012. The second project's title hasn't been announced, but it's scheduled for 2014, so we have a while for that. ParaNorman will only be the second stop-motion feature made in 3D. However, given that Nightmare Before Xmas/Coraline director Henry Selick left the studio in '09, he won't be involved with these, but they've got some other big talent lined up.
"Currently in production, ParaNorman is being directed by Sam Fell and Chris Butler, from Mr. Butler's original screenplay. Mr. Fell was director of The Tale of Despereaux and Flushed Away. Mr. Butler was storyboard supervisor on Coraline and storyboard artist on Tim Burton's Corpse Bride." The voice cast includes Casey Affleck, Tempestt Bledsoe ("The Cosby Show"), Jeff Garlin (Toy Story 3), John Goodman, Bernard Hill (Titanic), Anna Kendrick, Leslie Mann, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Tony and Emmy Award winner Elaine Stritch ("30 Rock"). Dang, quite a selection!
So what's it about? In the comedy thriller, a small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), who is able to speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he'll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst of all, moronic grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits. "[It's] a story of intense beauty and emotional truth. It's audacious, has genuine heart, and is funny as hell. We're incredibly excited to share this wonderful story with the world. And we're privileged to work again with Focus Features, with whom we share a commitment to bold, distinctive, and enduring films. LAIKA and Focus are truly kindred spirits," said producer Travis Knight.
This actually sounds pretty damn good and I will always appreciate another stop-motion film, there can honestly never be enough of them, especially from animation studios as caring about the art as Laika. Congrats on the news and best of luck to everyone, especially the ParaNorman team as they continue working on the project. I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye on this, so we'll let you know when we've got a first look photo or more news from Laika. Looking forward to seeing more stop-motion films?