On Oct. 28, we reported that director Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, Monkeybone), is in talks to make an all-animated feature with director Wes Anderson (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tennanbaums). While Selick couldn’t go into details about the project at the time of the interview, Daily Variety reports that it will be an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s book, The Fantastic Mr. Fox for Revolution Studios.
Selick completed stop-motion animation effects work for Anderson’s latest effort, Buena Vista Picture’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which is set to arrive in theaters nationwide on Dec. 25. The film stars Bill Murray as an eccentric oceanographer who reconnects with his estranged son while tracking down a giant shark that killed his partner during the filming of a documentary. Selick and lead animators Tim Hittle and Justin Kohn animated various sea creatures, including the mysterious shark. Read all about it in the upcoming January issue of Animation Magazine.
"We were talking about doing an all-stop-motion feature together, and that’s likely to happen," Selick tells us. "[Anderson] is halfway through a screenplay and initially we were talking about that and then he said, "Oh, by the way, I’m doing this other feature [(Life Aquatic)] and decided I wanted to use stop-motion."
Selick recently joined Vinton Studios as supervising director and will play a key role in the animation house’s aggressive move into feature film development and production. His first project with the studio will be a CG short film titled Moongirl. He is developing a stop-motion feature adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s children’s book, Coraline, with producer Bill Mechanic and his Pandemonium Films. Vinton Studios bought the rights to the project in September.
"It’s not a green lit feature, but they did buy the book," Selick comments regarding Coraline. "We have co-financing in place and we already have a script. I have to adapt it now for animation because it was originally intended as a mix [of animation and live action]. I think that by spring we’ll probably have it set up with a distributor and have other financing in place so we can go into production."
As The Fantastic Mr. Fox continues to cook in development, a new live-action adaptation of Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is in production at Disney with Johnny Depp starring as eccentric candy mogul, Willy Wonka. Depp is also providing a lead voice in Tim Burton’s upcoming stop-motion feature, The Corpse Bride, being produced by principals of Vinton Studios for Warner Bros. That film is in production in London and is slated for an October 2005 release.