- Focus Features and LAIKA ("ParaNorman," "Coraline") are teaming for their third project together, "The Boxtrolls." The film is a 3-D stop-motion and CG hybrid animated feature based on Alan Snow's bestseller "Here Be Monsters." The voice cast includes Ben Kingsley, Toni Collette, Elle Fanning, Jared Harris, Tracy Morgan, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Anthony Stacci ("Open Season") and Graham Annable (story artist on "Coraline" and "ParaNorman") will direct. The film is set for an October 2014 release.
- Focus and Random House have snapped up film rights to Jo Baker's yet to be published novel "Longbourn," which is based on Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice," but centers on the servants in the Bennet estate. The novel is set for release this fall. Per Focus' description of the project:
LONGBOURN will reveal what Jane Austen did not: the constant chaos swirling downstairs, the preparation for lavish balls, the housekeeper’s real thoughts about the family patriarch. But it will also reveal the tragic consequences of the Napoleonic Wars and focus on a romance between a newly arrived footman and a housemaid, the novel's main characters.
Sounds like "Downton Abbey" meets "Pride and Prejudice" -- a hot ticket.