Daily Variety reports that Focus Features has inked a deal with Laika Ent. to distribute Coraline, the flagship feature film from the company formerly known as Vinton Studio. Based on the best-selling novel by Neil Gaiman, the film will employ stop-motion animation and the voice of child star Dakota Fanning to tell the story of a young girl who moves with her family into a new home and discovers a door that leads to an alternate reality.
Coraline is being directed by Laika supervising director Henry Selick, whose directorial credits include the stop-motion classics The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach. Mike Cachuela, a storyboard and conceptual artist whose credits include The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Incredibles, is co-directing the pic for producers Bill Mechanic of Pandemonium Films and Laika’s Mary Sandell. Original songs are being written by esoteric rock band They Might Be Giants.
Owned by Nike co-founder Phil Knight, Oregon-based Laika was peripherally involved in Warner Bros. Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, and its CG-animated short, Selick’s Moongirl, won the Short Film Special Jury Prize at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. Also in the pipeline at the Jack & Ben’s Animated Adventure, an original idea from Laika’s director of story, Jorgen Klubien. Described as a tale of survival, brotherly love and grand adventure set in the animal kingdom, the family film is being written and directed by Klubien, who lists among his credits The Lion King, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., A Bug’s Life and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.