Hillsboro-based animation studio Laika has announced a new feature-length film, titled "The Night Gardener."
The film is based on an original screenplay by Bill Dubuque and directed by Laika chief executive and president Travis Knight.
Knight previously directed "Kubo and the Two Strings" for Laika, as well as the 2018 movie "Bumblebee" for Paramount Pictures.
Dubuque is best known for co-writing the 2014 film "The Judge," starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Robert Duvall, as well as the creator of the hit Netflix show "Ozark," which just released its final season.
The project is still in pre-production, so not many details are publicly available. What is known is that the plot of the new Laika film centers on a man in rural Mississippi and is described in a press release by the studio as a "gritty neo-noir folktale."
"'The Night Gardener' is a beautiful and timeless story that quickens the pulse as often as it breaks the heart," Knight said in the press release. "Bill is a masterful storyteller. He's crafted a lyrical world layered with complex characters, provocative ideas, and keenly felt emotion. It's gonna be one helluva movie."
Founded in 2005, Laika specializes in stop-motion animation, finding commercial success with films like "Coraline" (2009), "ParaNorman" (2012), "The Boxtrolls" (2014) and "Missing Link" (2019). All of these films, as well as "Kubo," were nominated for Academy Awards in the Best Animated Feature category.
The studio got its start by being the animation studio for 2005's "The Corpse Bride," directed by Tim Burton. Animators that went on to build Laika Studios got their start on director Henry Selick's stop-motion films, "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993) and "James and the Giant Peach" (1996), the former which was written by Burton.
No release date is announced for "The Night Gardener," as the studio is currently in production on a separate film called "Wildwood," which is best on a bestselling fantasy novel written by Colin Meloy, best known as the frontman for the folk-rock group The Decemberists.
Knight is directing that animated film as well. Laika also announced last year that it is working on its first live-action film called "Seventeen," based on the upcoming novel of the same name written by screenwriter John Brownlow.
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