Is Henry Selick's Stop-Motion 'The Shadow King' Back on the Throne?
The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline director Henry Selick has had quite the roller coaster ride over the past few years. He left Coraline's animation studio Laika back in 2009, headed to Disney to develop some new projects, only to have the Mouse House pass on his latest film The Shadow King after he put $50 million dollars into it and already started production. Laika then stepped back in to fund the project but passed just one day later, leaving the project dead in the water. Now a press release (via Slashfilm) says that K5 International has come on board to finance, breathing new life into the movie.
Disney reportedly passed on The Shadow King because the tone was too dark, and now we have an official synopsis from the press release that tells us exactly what the story is about:
"The Shadow King is a deliciously magical tale about nine-year-old New York orphan Hap who hides his fantastically weird hands with long fingers from a cruel world. But when a living shadow girl teaches him to make amazing hand shadows that come to life, his hands become incredible weapons in a shadow war against a ravenous monster bent on killing Hap’s brother Richard and ultimately destroying New York."
I can see how the suits at Disney might initially flinch at a story like this, but after doing the stop-motion Frankenweenie about a resurrected dog, you'd think they'd be a bit more open to material that's a bit darker. Selick says the movie has an "exciting blend of the fantastic and personal with its mix of humor, scares, and moments of sweetness," so it's not like he's going after an R-rating or anything. In any case, I'm glad K5 International could step in to save this project, especially after so much work had already been done on it. Would have been a shame to waste all that time, and any new stop-motion project from Selick is a movie worth seeing, so we're finally confident that we'll be seeing The Shadow King soon.