Coraline and Wendell and savage Director Henry Selick Blames Pixar’s John Lasseter For His Stop-Motion Film’s Cancellation The King of Shadows. Stop-motion animation is a form of detailed filmmaking that is becoming less and less common since the rise of computer animation. Currently, the main animation studio that continues to produce stop-motion films is Laika. After their first feature film with Selick’s Coralinethey continued to invest in stop-motion productions, despite a history of less-than-stellar box office numbers.
Besides Laika, Walt Disney Pictures has also dabbled in producing stop-motion features, though not as often. So far, the studio has only made three such films; The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the giant peach, and Frankenweenie. All three films drew on the talents of fellow surrealists Tim Burton and Henry Selick. After his success with CoralineSelick was approached by Disney to create an original stop-motion film, The King of Shadows, but a series of production costs and other issues caused the film to be scrapped. Since then, Selick has remained silent about his failed film and moved on to other films.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Selick sat down to discuss his Netflix feature Wendell and savage when the subject of The King of Shadows has come. It turns out he puts most of the blame on Pixar’s John Lasseter, who had by then become the head of Walt Disney Animation. Selick actually had a long history with Lasseter and other Pixar associates when they attended CalArts together and while he acknowledged that Lasseter was just doing his job, he named him for the reason why the public never had the chance to see his Coraline follow. See what he had to say below:
They screened Coraline at Pixar and everyone liked it, and they offered me a deal to make a stop-motion film… It had to be for a much lower budget than CG films. Stop-motion films have never been as successful as the great CG films. The best stop-motion movies live forever. And, as seen with Nightmare, making billions in merchandising… [John Lasseter] really couldn’t support my vision. He thought he could do better. And so we kept changing and changing and changing… Basically John Lasseter couldn’t help it. He tried Disney-fy until the budget blew. It stopped, and I was a bit depressed, I wasn’t sure I was going to do another movie.
Will Henry Selick ever finish The Shadow King?
Pictures of The King of Shadows leaked online, showing some of the production was complete before it was canned. With the changing landscape of animation and Selick’s Wendell and savage earning rave reviews, there’s a chance major studios could take another shot at the art form. Although it seems unlikely that The King of Shadows may be revived at Disney, that doesn’t mean Selick can’t revive the film elsewhere. Since a large part of the film was already finished, the creative team would even have a head start.
Whether Wendell and savage turns out to be a success, Netflix could be a viable option to explore to finally complete the project. With the streaming service having proven that it’s still receptive to stop-motion animation, there’s at least some hope that the film could one day see the light of day. However, without additional updates on The King of Shadowsit may take some time to find out if the final product will ever hit screens.
Next: How The Nightmare Before Christmas Almost Got A Different Villain