Henry Selick’s New Stop-Motion Film ‘The Shadow King’ Gets Backing

Published 1 year ago by

henry selick shadow king Henry Selicks New Stop Motion Film The Shadow King Gets Backing

Last year, Disney and Oscar-nominated stop-motion filmmaker Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, Coraline) were teaming on a pair of films: namely, an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and Selick’s original dark children’s fantasy project ShadeMaker.

However, the Mouse House eventually decided to halt production on ShadeMaker – due to the project not progressing fast enough - and, not long thereafter, the studio parted ways with Selick on Graveyard Book, revamping the adaptation as a live-action movie that has Ron Howard lining up to oversee. Fortunately, the first of those two planned 3D animation features has found replacement backing – with the addition of a new title, The Shadow King.

Shadow King is based on an original story and screenplay of Selick’s own invention. It reunites him with a few members of his Coraline production team, including the lighting cameraman Peter Sorg (the director of photography on Frankenweenie) and composer Bruno Coulais. The project was (unusually) far along into animation photography when Disney pulled the plug; thus, new backer K5 International will be presenting actual clips to prospective distributors at the European Film Market in Berlin.

Here is the official synopsis:

THE SHADOW KING is a deliciously magical tale about nine-year-old New York orphan Hap who hides his fantastically weird hands with long fingers from a cruel world. But when a living shadow girl teaches him to make amazing hand shadows that come to life, his hands become incredible weapons in a shadow war against a ravenous monster bent on killing Hap’s brother Richard and ultimately destroying New York.

It sounds as though Shadow King could make for an entertaining companion piece to Coraline, with its examination of budding male adolescence through a macabre fantasy lens. Moreover, it’s encouraging to hear that Frankenweenie‘s weaker box office returns (it made $35 million domestically on a $39 million budget) has not diminished the market for challenging, yet family-oriented, stop-motion animation – what with both Shadow King and Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio both managing to keep moving forward recently (despite a lack of studio support).

henry selick coraline Henry Selicks New Stop Motion Film The Shadow King Gets Backing

As I’ve mentioned in the past, 2012 really was an excellent year for quality stop-motion material, ranging from the witty Brit-com antics of Aardman’s The Pirates! Band of Misfits to the clever celebration of monster horror pop culture (and look at complex human emotions) in ParaNorman from Laika – which almost picked up Shadow King – and director Tim Burton regaining his heartfelt touch of weirdness with Frankenweenie.

Sadly, none of those films sold anywhere near the number of tickets as last year’s CGI animation crop (including, very good material like Brave, Wreck-It Ralph and Rise of the Guardians), which is why even accomplished people like Selick and del Toro have experienced problems getting studios behind their new ventures into the stop-motion medium. Again, it’s good to see this style of filmmaking continues to survive, even though such projects don’t always make for the best investments (from a purely business perspective).

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 Here is the official press release from K5 International:

Henry Selick, the genius behind THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH and the Oscar® and BAFTA nominated CORALINE, is moving forward with Academy Award nominated producer Josh Penn (BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD) and K5 International on his latest feature THE SHADOW KING.

THE SHADOW KING is a deliciously magical tale about nine-year-old New York orphan Hap who hides his fantastically weird hands with long fingers from a cruel world. But when a living shadow girl teaches him to make amazing hand shadows that come to life, his hands become incredible weapons in a shadow war against a ravenous monster bent on killing Hap’s brother Richard and ultimately destroying New York.

THE SHADOW KING is written and directed by Selick. His team includes an impressive array of renowned artists such as Director of Photographer Peter Sorg, (Frankenweenie, Coraline), Eric Leighton, Animation Director on Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’hoole, Production Designer Lou Romano (The Incredibles), Editor Wyatt Jones (Immortals, Rango, TRON: Legacy, Zodiac), and composer Bruno Coulais (Coraline).

THE SHADOW KING, until recently in hiatus after Disney exited the project, is already a good way into production.

K5 International is bringing Henry Selick to the European Film Market at Berlin to conduct special presentations to selected buyers with exclusive clips from the film screened behind closed doors as part of the presentation.

“K5 is the perfect presenter for THE SHADOW KING – they appreciate the film’s exciting blend of the fantastic and personal with its mix of humor, scares, and moments of sweetness. We can’t wait to get back into production,” stated Henry Selick.

“We immediately realized that THE SHADOW KING is a fantastic and exciting prospect that needed to find the support. To offer our help to Henry’s brilliance as a storyteller is an absolute pleasure for us. And it also demonstrates K5’s commitment to bringing bigger and bolder projects to the market,” say K5’s Co-Founders Oliver Simon and Daniel Baur.

“Henry Selick is the best in the business. His films are all instant classics and they delight family audiences all over the world over and over again,” adds Partner Sales Carl Clifton.

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TAGS: ShadeMaker, The Shadow King

3 Comments

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  1. I love stop motion films. I think they are much more impressive than all other kinds of films, as far as how you make/create them. It’s sad that not enough people see these at the theatre.

  2. Selick is the BEST stop motion director around imo. I saw Coraline in first run theatres in 3D. I still remember how incredible that experience was. Selick’s movies are really atmospheric, I love the journey he takes you on in every one of his films. I’ll definitely be checking this one out as soon as its released.

  3. i like Coraline Movie too much, and i watched it several times. One day i want to create a stop motion movie. And one day i want to suecess like Henery Selick. I’m so proud of him.

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