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It’s hard to imagine stop motion ever becoming the norm amongst non live action film releases, but the genre has seen almost unparalleled growth recently. Two separate 2009 films, Coraline and Fantastic Mr. Fox, dazzled audiences with their skewed takes on the animation game, and now Disney is getting into the act, hiring Henry Selick, the man behind Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas, to put something new together for the re-energized studio.
I suspect some Disney purists may have a problem with this. The company, known for 2D animation, had largely abandoned that game amidst dwindling returns, but after new head John Lasseter relit the fire, the studio responded with two wonderful efforts, The Princess And The Frog and Tangled. This play toward stop animation could be seen as a parallel trajectory of the methods that nearly sunk the studio in the early 2000s, but I’d have to respectfully disagree. Lasseter isn’t abandoning 2D animation, and if Pixar’s success is taken with Disney’s last two efforts, it further hammers home the notion that it’s more about storytelling success than specific medium.
According to Bleeding Cool, Selick has put together a new company, Shademaker Productions, that will work on future animated efforts. The Disney film in question, entitled Shademaker, will be a horror offering aimed at children. Little is known about the project except that it will include famed production designer Lou Romano who previously worked on numerous Pixar efforts including the masterful Up.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Selick’s work on James And The Giant Peach, but both Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas were splendid offerings. I have full confidence he’ll do a fantastic job here. The only real question is whether it will top Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming stop motion offering Pinocchio. His take on the classic reportedly will also be very dark.
No word yet on when Shademaker may head into production or what voice actors may be involved, but pictures underneath the Disney banner tend to get plenty of updates. Cinema Blend will fill you in when those arrive.