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Laika Passes On Henry Selick's 'Shadow King,' Project Gets Shelved

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist September 26, 2012 at 6:29PM

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Henry Selick

Such is the world we live in, where Len Wiseman gets hired to direct a reboot of "The Mummy," yet Henry Selick can't get a movie made at a studio. And while there was a brief ray of light for Selick's "Shadow King" (aka "Shademaker" ) after Disney scrapped it last month, with Laika taking a look at the movie, it now seems that the project is dead.

FirstShowing reports that Laika has passed on the movie as a budget couldn't be nailed down for the project, which has already cost Disney $50 million. Selick sent a memo to staff at his Cinderbiter Studios earlier this week, announcing that the movie would not be moving forward. Not many details were known about the film, except that it involved two brothers, and though it had a tenative Halloween 2013 release date in mind, it proved to be too dark for Disney too handle. There is a chance the movie could be picked back up down the line, but for all intents and purposes, "Shadow King" is dead.

Where Selick goes from here remains to be seen. He's attached to direct an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book," also at Disney, but considering this recent turn of events and the studio's skittishness with "dark" material, we'll be curious to see if that happens. But for now Selick is a bit adrift, having left Laika following "Coraline," courted by Disney, who have ulimately left him hanging. The director occupies a unique niche in the animation world, one that is distinctly his own, but the game has changed, and distinct directorial voices need to find benefactors to bring their work to the bring screen (*cough*Megan Ellison*cough*). But hopefully, it isn't too long before Selick is working again on another creative concoction.

This article is related to: Laika Animated Studios, Henry Selick


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