Stop-Motion Animation Studio Laika Producing Young Adult Novel Wildwood

Since the release of Coraline in 2009, fans of stop-motion animation have been waiting with bated breath for more Laika Entertainment projects. The Neil Gaiman adaptation told not only an amazing story, but was filled with stunning visuals and we even ranked it as one of our favorite 3D films. The company's next project ParaNorman, a film that Coraline director Henry Sellick calls, "A funny zombie tale," is due out next year, but you know us: we always need more material coming from talented people. Fortunately, it looks like their happy to oblige.

According to Variety, Laika is now planning to adapt Wildwood, a young adult novel written by The Decemberists singer Colin Meloy. The book came out just last week and is expected to be the first in a trilogy. Set in an "alternate version" of Portland, Oregon, the story is about a young girl named Prue McKneel who has to face down danger in the Impassable Wilderness in order to rescue her kidnapped brother.

It kind of sounds like a simple story, but apparently it is quite the opposite. Described by the trade as the company's most ambitious project yet, studio Preident and CEO Travis Knight says that it has the epic scale of the Lord of the Rings, but also "a wonderful contemporary quality as well." Said Knight of the project,

"Nothing of its kind has been attempted in our medium. You have these epic scenes alongside very nuanced character moments, which are the two hardest things to do in stop-motion. It's exciting to imagine how this might all come together."

What's really interesting about this report is that Colin Meloy and wife, Carson Ellis (who did the drawings in the book), said that they wouldn't let the project be optioned unless it was done in either stop-motion or in the style of Watership Down (the killer bunny movie that scarred us all as children). While I haven't read the book myself, the reviews on Amazon appear to be almost entirely positive. Let's hope it lives up to the hype.

Eric Eisenberg
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.