Focus Features & Laika Team-Up for Two More Stop-Motion Projects
by Alex Billington
May 4, 2011
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?
Im glad Henry Selick won't be involved. James and The Giant Peach, Monekybone (!) and Coraline were all pretty damn crappy, all things considered. The allure of stop-motion and look is one thing, but the films themselves, as a majority and not by myself, weren't enjoyed by kids or adults. Henry Selick got into the scene through one of the last solid Tim Burton themed movies, his production credits in that as well as the source material of the book are what made that movie more than Selick. Nightmare was the soul of Burton being played out and eventually stolen by Selick. And the high-hair-lined con-artist has been coasting on that wave for over 15 years. And Focus, having supported Fantastic Mr. Fox, now teamed with the capable and talented Laika group, I have hope for stop-motion staying in theaters and giving kids and audiences another option to CGI since 2-D animation has gone by the wayside. Oh, yeah, and screw Henry Selick.
Voice of Reason on May 5, 2011
Wow someone hates Henry Selick...Stop Motion, I'm in
Klausey on May 5, 2011
I love Henry Selick, and saying that Coraline was crappy is the most laughable thing I've ever heard. With that said, I wish that 2D animation will make a come back, as I never was "into" the stop motion look; I always thought of it as a poor-man's CGI. (But that's just my opinion.)
Ken on May 6, 2011
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