Henry Selick to Direct ‘The Ocean at the End of the Line’ Based on Gaiman Novel

Henry Selick to Direct ‘The Ocean at the End of the Line’ Based on Gaiman Novel

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Filmmaker Henry Selick has revealed that his next project will be a stop-motion animated adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s 2013 novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

According to Variety, Selick believes Gaiman’s novel to be the author’s crowning achievement, and has said that the film would be “almost a sequel” to Coraline, his 2009 animation based on another Gaiman novel. Coraline depicted the story of a young girl who enters an alternate world through a secret door, only to find that her Other Mother and her parallel family try to keep her there forever.

By contrast, The Ocean at the End of the Lane would somewhat reverse this plot conceit. As Selick said, “Instead of a child going to this other world with a monstrous mother, it’s a monstrous mother who comes into our world to wreak havoc on a kid’s life.”

Selick is currently trying to find a studio to produce his latest proposal. Industry observers suggest that likely candidates might include ShadowMachine or Laika, which created Coraline.

The versatile director is also interested in moving forward with The Shadow King, another of his projects that has been on hold for more than a decade.  Back in 2011, Selick had screened two brief sequences of the animation. Reportedly, he may now try to create a graphic novel to promote the concept, which may be offered to another director.

Early in his childhood, Selick had been influenced by the stop-motion animation sequences of Lotte Reiniger and Ray Harryhausen. “Those cyclops and dragons and skeletons took a hold of me,” he was quoted as saying. “I knew they were absolutely real, but didn’t know in what universe they’d be brought to life or how that worked.”

Selick studied animation at the University of Syracuse and at CalArts. Early on in his career, he worked briefly for at Disney, where his colleagues included Tim Burton and Eric Larson. Disney produced two of Selick’s early works, The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach.

Coraline was a huge success, earning more than $131 million globally. It was nominated for an Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and BAFTAs. On August 15, Coraline will enjoy a limited theatrical run in celebration of its 15th anniversary, when it will be released in 2D and 3D in select theaters.

No release date has yet been announced for The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

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