Tuesday 25 September 2012

UPDATED - Selick in Talks to Take Shademaker to Laika (Or Not)

Director Henry Selick (left) and Laika CEO Travis Knigt (right)

IndieWire is reporting that The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick is in talks to take his, previously tentatively titled, Shademaker, to Laika!

The project was being produced by Selick's Cinderbiter/ShadeMaker Productions, alongside Brain Trust members from Pixar, until news recently broke that Disney had pulled the plug. Claims were that the film's story wasn't where Disney wanted it to be and that production was lagging. The rumours emerging today though claims that Selick is shopping the idea to Laika, whom he previously worked with on 2009's Oscar nominated Coraline.

IndieWire also offers up some rumoured details about the film's plot and style:

I'm told that the once-titled "ShadeMaker" is the story of two brothers, and that it takes Selick's special brand of surrealism into a new direction. The sets are spectacular (especially Central Park) and they've been and they've been making use of a similar Rapid Prototype 3D printer for replacement heads that Laika introduced on "ParaNorman."

It's a shame that Selick's deal with Disney fell through - it might lead to awkwardness if/when he returns to make the planned adaptation of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book - but the film certainly seems a good fit for Laika and we know they work well together! Be sure also to check out our review of Laika's latest film, ParaNorman!

Via Craig Good and HitFix.

UPDATE: 27/09/2012 - 00:07 (GMT)

Times look dark Selick fans, and not good, Coraline, dark. /Film reports that whilst Henry Selick did meet with Laika, the talks "went nowhere and Laika will not fund its former director’s project." First Showing also reports that the film, apparently now titled The Shadow King, is not being taken on by Laika, and is seemingly done for.

Selick supposedly sent a memo to the team at Cinderbiter, saying that Laika chief Travis Knight couldn't figure out a financially sound way to continue production on the film. Selick could shop the film around some more, but following knock-backs from his two biggest options, it might be time, sadly, to move on.

Sad news for sure, especially so short after hearing that Digital Domain's closure meant the end of The Legend of Tembo. But here's hoping it gets picked up somewhere else in the near future, and we here at A113Animation wish the very talented Mr. Selick and all on the Cinderbiter crew all the best in whatever they go on to next!


  1. This is such a bummer, I really enjoy Selick's films and would like to see more stop motion films. I don't understand why these studios are dropping the film - is it due to the complexity, or is it a story issue? If the latter, you'd think they could spend some time working on it and then move forward. In any case, it's too bad and hopefully the crew will quickly find new jobs.

    1. Indeed, massive downer. Selick's a *very* talented man, and one would think he wouldn't have to try this hard, given his track record, to get his film picked up...

      The story's supposedly too dark, and lagging behind production. But yeah, especially given the Pixar involvement, you would've thought Disney'd give it a chance.. Shame.