LAIKA, the studio behind movies like Coraline and ParaNorman, has revealed they are working on a stop-animation feature called The Night Gardener. The studio’s next stop-animation project currently in production, however, is called Wildwood and is based on a book by the Decemberists lead singer and songwriter, Colin Meloy.
LAIKA CEO Travis Knight is directing both Wildwood and The Night Gardener, with his previous credits including LAIKA’s Kubo and the Two Strings and the best Transformers movie out there, Bumblebee.
Wildwood will take place in Portland, OR (which also happens to be where LAIKA headquarters are located and where Meloy is from) and has reportedly been in the works for a decade. It follows the story of the first book in Meloy’s YA trilogy and centers around an enchanted wood. Chris Butler, who co-wrote LAIKA’s Kubo and the Two Strings, will be handling the script.
You can see a first look image above, and here is the film’s official synopsis:
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 fairy tales, but she’s just found herself at the center of one…filled with strange talking animals, roguish bandits, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions.
The Night Gardener has Ozark creator Bill Dubuque on board to write the original screenplay, and the story is described as a dark, neo-noir tale that focuses on a man in rural Missouri trying to keep his family together in the aftermath of a tragedy.
“The Night Gardener is a beautiful and timeless story that quickens the pulse as often as it breaks the heart,” Knight told The Hollywood Reporter. “Bill is a masterful storyteller. He’s crafted a lyrical world layered with complex characters, provocative ideas and keenly felt emotion. It’s gonna be one helluva movie.”
No news on when Wildwood or The Night Gardener will make their way to our eyeballs.