Animator LAIKA Gobbles 'Goblins'


(Portland, OR; April 18, 2012) –  LAIKA has optioned Goblins, the Scholastic novel from award-winning novelist Philip Reeve (Mortal Engines) which will be published in the UK on April 5, 2012, and in the US in Fall, 2013 and has signed Emmy®, Annie®, and CLIO® Award-winning director Mark Gustafson (The PJs, Animation Director on The Fantastic Mr. Fox) to direct the 3D, stop-motion animated film. The announcement was made today by Travis Knight, President & CEO of the Portland, Oregon-based animation studio.  LAIKA produced the Oscar® and BAFTA® nominated feature film Coraline, and is currently in production on the 3D, stop-motion feature ParaNorman.

Goblins, set in an extraordinary world of brilliantly original monsters and magical creatures, tells the story of riotous, ill-mannered, and all-around bloodthirsty goblins who live in the gigantic ruins of Clovenstone Castle, and spend their time mindlessly fighting, looting, and menacing neighboring villages.  Only clever young Skarper understands that an ancient and powerful magic created by a vanquished sorcerer is rising again. Soon giants, cloudmaidens, swamp monsters, treewarriors, rampaging goblins and hapless humans will be swept into a fabulous magical conflict that will determine the fate of their world, and delight discerning audiences of all ages.

Goblins is a fantasy with bite,” said Travis Knight.  “It practically shimmers with verve, caustic humor, and piercing wit.  Philip Reeve has pulled off a helluva feat, masterfully crafting a sly send-up of classic fantasy archetypes and adventures while lovingly honoring their underlying forms.  Goblins is a thrilling, high energy swashbuckler teeming with wonderful surprises; at once hilarious and twisted, sincere and endearing.  In the hands of LAIKA’s freakishly talented artists and guided by the ineffably gifted Mark Gustafson, it will make a strange, stirring, and altogether beautiful film.”

“I am delighted that LAIKA has optioned Goblins,” said Philip Reeve. “I love the look and feel that they achieved in films like Coraline and Moongirl, and I think the studio’s distinctive approach, led by the deft directing hand of Mark Gustafson, will be the perfect way to bring Clovenstone and its goblins to life.”

Goblins is a fantastic book, full of action, humor, charm and surprising characters,” said Mark Gustafson. “Philip Reeves has done a wonderful job of turning a familiar genre on its ear and creating a beautifully intricate universe unlike anything I’ve seen before.  I’m personally thrilled to have the opportunity to work with my amazingly talented colleagues at LAIKA to realize the world of Goblins.”

Philip Reeve is represented by Philippa Milnes-Smith of The Law Agency in London; Mark Gustafson by The Gotham Group in Los Angeles.

About Philip Reeve:

Philip Reeve was born in Brighton and worked in a book shop for many years before becoming a full-time illustrator and then turning to writing. His first novel, Mortal Engines, won the Nestlé Smarties Gold Award (2002) and was shortlisted for both the Branford Boase Award and the Whitbread Children’s Book Award. He has since won many more awards and accolades for his works including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 2006 for A Darkling Plain and the 2008 CILIP Carnegie Medal for Here Lies Author. He lives in Dartmoor, England with his wife and son, Sam.

About Mark Gustafson:

Mark Gustafson has received much praise for his wit, comedic timing and a seamless ability to blend stop-motion, CG and live-action. Mark was Supervising Director of the two-time Emmy® award-winning primetime, stop-motion series,The PJs, produced in partnership with Eddie Murphy and Imagine Entertainment, for which he garnered an Annie Award® for Outstanding Directing in an Animated Television Production.

Mark has directed some of most recognized animated commercials in the business during his long association with LAIKA/house, the commercial division of LAIKA, including spots or series for the NFL on Fox, ESPN, Coca-Cola, Levi’s, Planters, Ben & Jerry’s. Most recently he worked with acclaimed director Wes Anderson on SONY “Made of Imagination” campaign, which is airing internationally. His 1996 Nissan Toys ad set to Van Halen’s “You Really Got Me” won a Gold Clio at Cannes and was hailed by Entertainment Weekly as among the “50 Greatest Commercials of All Time.”

From 2007 through 2009, Gustafson was Animation Director on the feature film The Fantastic Mr. Fox which was nominated for an Oscar® in the best-animated film category.

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