While the most recent news from ace animation team Laika was a planned live-action novel adaptation, it's reassuring to know that the company is not abandoning the world of stop-motion. And company boss/occasional director Travis Knight (who appeared to be switching more towards live-action filmmaking of his own) is also back on board for the new animation, adapting Colin Meloy's novel Wildwood.
The tome, which was written by The Decemberists' Meloy and illustrated by Carson Ellis, has Missing Link's Chris Butler on script duty. The story is set beyond Portland’s city limits, in Wildwood. You’re not supposed to go there. You’re not even supposed to know it exists. But Prue McKeel is about to enter this enchanted wonderland.
Her baby brother Mac has been taken by a murder of crows into the forest’s depths, and she – along with her hapless classmate, Curtis – is going to get him back. Prue might think she’s too old for fairytales, but she’s just found herself at the center of one. One filled with strange talking animals, roguish bandits, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions.
Shades of Labyrinth, perhaps, then, but certainly something you just know the people behind Coraline and Kubo And The Two Strings can turn into a weird and wonderful film. And visually speaking it should be sumptuous, since veteran cinematographer Caleb Deschanel is making it his first animated gig.
"As a deep-dyed native son of Oregon, I have rainwater, microbrew, and fair-trade coffee coursing through my veins," says Knight. "With Wildwood, I have the opportunity to tell a madly ambitious story of magic, wonder, and danger set in the place I grew up. My very own Portland will join that pantheon of unforgettable fantasy realms, with a stirring epic that will kindle imaginations, lift spirits, and break hearts.
"Colin and Carson’s novel is a lyrical work of art. The entire Laika family is fully committed to honoring it with a film of breathtaking spectacle and aching beauty. I can’t wait to share it with the world. Although we’re doing this in stop-motion, so, you know, I’ll have to."