Cult fave director Wes Anderson (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums) has tapped The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick to create stop-motion animation sequences for the upcoming movie The Life Aquatic, according to an article on sfweekly.com.
Directed and co-written by Anderson, The Life Aquatic is an adventure tale that stars Bill Murray as a European Oceanographer a la Jacques Cousteau. Underwater sequences will feature a variety of animated characters ranging from fairly realistic to more cartoonish. The story reportedly has a fable-esque quality that Anderson felt would be better served by Selick’s puppet animation style than CG.
The animation is being produced in San Francisco by a team of 25 animators including noted puppet pushers Tim Hittle (Canhead) and Justin Kohn (The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, Monkeybone). Filming is scheduled to begin this month and continue through April.
Selick is quoted saying that the animation will play a small but important role in the film. The project sounds reminiscent of New Line’s recent hit holiday flick Elf, which has Santa’s fabled North Pole populated with Rankin-Bass-style stop-motion arctic critters animated by the Chiodo Bros.
Another iron in the fire for Selick is a feature film adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s supernatural children’s novel Coraline, which he is developing with production company Pandemonium. When we spoke with him last year, he said that the Alice in Wonderland-esque film will be primarily live-action with animated elements.