Following their successful pairings on ParaNorman* and Coraline, Focus Features and LAIKA are teaming up once again for The Boxtrolls. Filming has already begun on The Boxtrolls with Anthony Stacchi (Open Season) and Graham Annable (Coraline, ParaNorman story artist) sharing the directing duties.
Focus and LAIKA also confirmed the voice cast of the 3D stop-motion and CG hybrid animated family-friendly film. Ben Kingsley, Toni Collette, Elle Fanning, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, and Tracy Morgan are all committed to lending their voices to The Boxtrolls characters.
The official synopsis: "The Boxtrolls is a comedic fable that unfolds in Cheesebridge, a posh Victorian-era town obsessed with wealth, class, and the stinkiest of fine cheeses. Beneath its charming cobblestone streets dwell the Boxtrolls, foul monsters who crawl out of the sewers at night and steal what the townspeople hold most dear: their children and their cheeses. At least, that's the legend residents have always believed. In truth, the Boxtrolls are an underground cavern-dwelling community of quirky and lovable oddballs who wear recycled cardboard boxes the way turtles wear their shells. The Boxtrolls have raised an orphaned human boy, Eggs (Hempstead-Wright), since infancy as one of their dumpster-diving and mechanical junk-collecting own. When the Boxtrolls are targeted by villainous pest exterminator Archibald Snatcher (Kingsley), who is bent on eradicating them as his ticket to Cheesebridge society, the kindhearted band of tinkerers must turn to their adopted charge and adventurous rich girl Winnie (Fanning) to bridge two worlds amidst the winds of change - and cheese."
Focus has set an October 17, 2014 release date for The Boxtrolls.
In the official announcement of the start of production, LAIKA President & CEO Travis Knight described The Boxtrolls as a "visually dazzling mash-up of gripping detective story, absurdist comedy, and steampunk adventure with a surprisingly wholesome heart." Knight added, "It's Dickens by way of Monty Python. Tony and Graham have crafted a strange and beautiful world replete with fantastical creatures, good-for-nothing reprobates, madcap antics, and rip-roaring feats of derring-do. But at its core, like all LAIKA films, The Boxtrolls is a moving and human story with timelessness and powerful emotional resonance. We're thrilled to partner with Focus Features and Universal to bring this remarkable story to family audiences around the world."
* ParaNorman is currently in the running for a Best Animated Feature Film Oscar.
(Photo © LAIKA and Focus Features)