UPDATES THROUGHOUT: Boxtrolls producer Travis Knight gave an update on cast member Tracy Morgan during the Focus Features panel for the pic today at Comic-Con. Morgan was seriously injured in a June crash that killed his mentor, comedian James McNair, in New Jersey. “Thankfully he’s home with his family now and recovering… I’ve come down to Comic-Con for five years and not found a family as loving, kind and generous as the Comic-Con family,” he said. Knight and the cast and crew of Boxtrolls led the 6,500 strong Hall H audience in a round of “We love you Tracy” cheers, filming the moment to send to Morgan back home.
The Laika stop motion animation pic has been ten years in the making, but comes after the Portland-based studio’s first two feature hits. Development began before the studio’s Coraline (2009) and ParaNorman (2012) on the tale of a young boy named Eggs who’s raised by a family of underground-dwelling trash-collecting creatures known as the Boxtrolls.
Game Of Thrones‘ Isaac Hempstead-Wright voices Eggs, and got a huge response from fans as he took the stage just a day after the HBO series packed Hall H with its own panel. Elle Fanning and Ben Kingsley also “star” and joined Hempstead-Wright, Knight, and co-directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable to present charming footage from the September 26 release. Laika has created a richly detailed world inspired by works of “Roald Dahl, bits of Monty Python, and Charles Dickens,” according to Knight.
Knight, the energetic President and CEO of Laika who also served as lead animator on Boxtrolls (studio is owned by his father, Nike co-founder and Chairman Phil Knight), spread a message of DIY independence to the Comic-Con crowd. The picture was shot with Canon 5D cameras and readily available Dragon software. “It’s stuff that exists for anybody who has the jones for stop motion. Anyone can do it,” he said, also saying that he’d like to go old school and do a hand-drawn 2D animated project at Laika.
He also took the chance to throw some shade at Laika’s big studio competition in the animated features game: “No farts. This ain’t DreamWorks.”