Laika, the Academy Award nominated animation studio best known for films like Coraline and ParaNorman, has announced their next feature, Wildwood. Based on the novel written by Colin Meloy (lead singer for Grammy Award-nominated The Decemberists) and illustrated by artist Carson Ellis. Laika President & CEO Travis Knight will once again direct the film marking his second feature for the company he co-founded after directing 2016's Kubo and the Two Strings. Producer Arianne Sutner and screenwriter Chris Butler are also attached to work on the new film, having just nabbed Golden Globes for their work on Missing Link. You can find the first teaser poster for the film below!
"As a deep-dyed native son of Oregon, I have rainwater, microbrew, and fair-trade coffee coursing through my veins," Knight said in a statement. "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." Knight continued, "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."
An official description for Wildwood from the press release reads: "Beyond Portland's city limits lies 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."
Production on Wildwood is ongoing at LAIKA's facility outside Portland, Oregon. Cinephiles will be excited to learn that the movie will also mark the first fully animated feature film from Oscar nominated cinematographer Caleb Deschanel.
Wildwood joins a rich ensemble of movies from Laika, all of which have been nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the Academy Awards (Kubo secured a second nomination, Best Achievement in Visual Effects, as well). It was previously reported earlier this year that Laika would produce their first live-action movie, an adaptation of the upcoming novel Seventeen, which remains in development.