Thursday 7 February 2013

Laika's Next Film Is The Boxtrolls, Due 2014

Fresh off the critically acclaimed ParaNorman, Laika are looking to the future, and have just announced that their next film will arrive in October of 2014 and will be The Boxtrolls.

The Boxtrolls, per Laika's official press release, is "a 3D stop-motion and CG hybrid animated feature based on Alan Snow’s bestselling fantasy adventure novel Here Be Monsters." In our interview with Pete Oswald, a visual development artist who worked on ParaNorman, a few months ago, he mentioned that Laika's next film would be Here Be Monsters (which is now obviously going by The Boxtrolls), saying "While I was working on ParaNorman I saw some development art. It's fantastic." Check out one such instance of that development art down below.

The Boxtrolls' directors: Anthony Stacchi (left) and Graham
Annable (right).

The Boxtrolls is directed by Anthony Stacchi (Open Season) and Graham Annable (Coraline) and produced by David Ichioka and Laika CEO Travis Knight; it has a stellar voice cast including Ben Kingsley (Hugo, Iron Man 3), Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine, About a Boy), Elle Fanning (Super 8), Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Game of Thrones), Jared Harris (Mad Men), Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd) and Tracy Morgan (30 Rock).

The press release gave us a synopsis for the film too:

"The Boxtrolls is a comedic fable that unfolds in Cheesebridge, a posh Victorian-era town obsessed with wealth, class and the stinkiest of fine cheeses. Beneath its charming cobblestone streets dwell the Boxtrolls, foul monsters who crawl out of the sewers at night and steal what the townspeople hold most dear: their children and their cheeses. At least that’s the legend residents have always believed. In truth, the Boxtrolls are an underground cavern-dwelling community of quirky and lovable oddballs who wear recycled cardboard boxes the way turtles wear their shells. The Boxtrolls have raised an orphaned human boy since infancy as one of their dumpster-diving and mechanical junk-collecting own. When the Boxtrolls are targeted by a villainous pest exterminator who is bent on eradicating them as his ticket to Cheesebridge society, the kind-hearted band of tinkerers must turn to their adopted charge and an adventurous rich girl to bridge two worlds amidst the winds of change – and cheese."

Travis Knight offered up his thoughts on the film, which he sounds very excited about:

“The Boxtrolls is a visually dazzling mash-up of gripping detective story, absurdist comedy, and steampunk adventure with a surprisingly wholesome heart. It’s Dickens by way of Monty Python. Tony and Graham have crafted a strange and beautiful world replete with fantastical creatures, good-for-nothing reprobates, madcap antics, and rip-roaring feats of derring-do. But at its core, like all LAIKA films, The Boxtrolls is a moving and human story with timelessness and powerful emotional resonance. We’re thrilled to partner with Focus Features and Universal to bring this remarkable story to family audiences around the world.”

Laika have consistently impressed me with their films - both in terms of the magnificent animation and the well-crafted stories - so I'm incredibly excited to see what they conjure up next. The fact that the animation is a hybrid of CG and Laika's usual stop-motion is intriguing and the voice cast is beyond impressive - it's like they rounded up people from my favourite shows and films!

The Boxtrolls is currently scheduled for release on 17th October, 2014 - which seems set to be a fantastic year for animation.

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