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Laika Finds Its Next Movie In Travis Knight-Helmed Adaptation Of Colin Meloy Novel ‘Wildwood’

By Matt Grobar

September 15, 2021

Laika President & CEO Travis Knight is directing the studio’s next animated feature, Wildwoodan adaptation of the bestselling novel written by The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy, and illustrated by Carson Ellis.

The film penned by Chris Butler (Missing Link) is set beyond Portland’s city limits, in 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.

Ariane Sutner is producing Laika’s latest, which marks Oscar and BAFTA-nominated DP Caleb Deschanel’s first fully animated feature project. The film is currently in production at the studio’s facility outside Portland, Oregon, Knight announced today, as he debuted a first-look image.

“As a deep-dyed native son of Oregon, I have rainwater, microbrew, and fair-trade coffee coursing through my veins,” said the BAFTA winner behind Kubo and the Two Strings. “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.

“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,” he continued. “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.”

Knight founded Laika in 2005. The studio’s five films to date—Coraline (2009), ParaNorman (2012), The Boxtrolls (2014), Kubo (2016) and Missing Link (2019)—have all been nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Kubo also earned a BAFTA Award and an additional Oscar nom for VFX; Missing Link, meanwhile, won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Film. A leader in the field of stop-motion, Laika was also awarded a Scientific and Technology Oscar for its innovation in 3D printing back in 2016.

The announcement of Wildwood comes on the heels of another, with which the studio set an adaptation of the action thriller novel Seventeen, penned by John Barlow, as its first live-action feature.

Check out the first image from the upcoming animated film above