Bouncing back from the disappointing reception his 2001 effort, Monkeybone, received from critics and the ticket buying public, director Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach) is ready to take the animation world by storm again. The cool stop-motion animation creature effects in Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou were just a warm-up for the slate of projects on his plate since joining Portland-based Vinton Studios in May of 2004. The latest is an adaptation of Laura Ruby’s second novel, The Wall and the Wing, a fantasy yarn to be published by HarperCollins in 2006.
In its aggressive move into animated feature film production, Vinton Studios preemptively paid a high six-figure sum for rights to The Wall and the Wing. Selick will direct the film after completing his CG short, Moongirl, and his feature-length adaptation of best-selling author Neil Gaiman’s children’s novel, Coraline, both for Vinton Studios. While Coraline will be animated with stop-motion, Vinton hasn’t released any details of the animation style to be used for The Wall and the Wing.
The Wall and the Wing is described as a magical adventure set in a bizarre Dahl-esque Manhattan, where a group of orphans have had their memories stolen in a plot to re-write the history of the world. In Ruby’s vision of New York City, everyone can fly and two feisty orphans have very special, supernatural gifts, which they must use to protect themselves from unscrupulous adults. Selick says the tale has a Dickensian feel, but he was drawn to the humor. "Not every story has an orphanage matron with a plastic surgery obsession or a bad guy who was a former child model for No Pee Pull-up Pants. Laura Ruby has an amazing sense of humor which informs each and every character."
Most famous for commercial work such as the California Raisins spots and animated TV shows such as the short-lived The PJs and Gary and Mike, Vinton Studios made its first foray into features as the co-producer of the eagerly awaited Tim Burton/Warner Bros. stop-motion Corpse Bride.
Lily’s Ghosts, the first novel from Chicago-based Ruby, was a Parent’s Choice Silver Honor Award winner and a nominee for the 2004 Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery. She also writes fiction for adults. Her short story collection, I Am Julia Roberts, will be published by Warner Books in early 2007.