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Selick Talks with Laika Break Down UPDATE

Photo of Bill Desowitz By Bill Desowitz | Thompson on Hollywood September 30, 2012 at 6:35PM

Henry Selick is apparently in discussions with Laika to finance his stop-motion feature recently shut down by Disney (with newly appointed chairman Alan Horn deciding to take a $50 million write off reportedly because the tone was too dark and the production was moving far too slowly)...

Henry Selick has halted his discussions with Laika to finance his stop-motion feature, which was recently shut down by Disney. Newly appointed Disney chairman Alan Horn opted to take a $50-million write-off, reportedly because the tone was too dark and the production was moving too slowly.

Given that Laika and Selick parted ways after the successful "Coraline," a friendly reunion might have been a long shot. Both might have benefited, though. Selick might still have been able to work out of his fledgling Cinderbiter studio in San Francisco. And Laika would have had a new satellite studio to complement its campus in Portland, Oregon. Selick's "Coraline" did far better with both reviewers and audiences than Laika's recent second release, "ParaNorman."

Selick not only has Pixar to thank for setting him up at Cinderbiter, but also for providing story notes from the vaunted brain trust (from screenwriter Mike Jones to Brad Bird).

I'm told that the once-titled "ShadeMaker" is the story of two brothers, and that it takes Selick's special brand of surrealism in a new direction. The sets are spectacular (especially Central Park) and they've been making use of a similar Rapid Prototype 3D printer for replacement heads that Laika introduced on "ParaNorman."

Fingers crossed that someone recognizes the painstaking artistry that Selick brings to these projects and comes through with some funding.

This article is related to: Immersed In Movies, Animation, 3D, Disney , News

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.