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Laika announces next animated film, 'Wildwood', featuring an animated Portland

The stop-motion animation studio is working on a feature film called "Wildwood," based on the bestselling novel by The Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy.
Credit: Laika Studios

PORTLAND, Ore. — Laika Studios is working on an animated feature film called "Wildwood," based on the bestselling novel by the Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy.

Like the studio, the Decemberists and the novel, the new film will be based in the Portland area.

Laika is an award-winning animation studio in Hillsboro that has produced films such as "Coraline," "ParaNorman," "Kubo and the Two Strings," "The Boxtrolls" and "Missing Link" — all of which received Oscar nominations. 

The studio's president and CEO, Travis Knight, son of Nike founder Phil Knight, announced the film's production in a news release Wednesday. 

“As a deep-dyed native son of Oregon, I have rainwater, microbrew and fair-trade coffee coursing through my veins,” said Knight. “With 'Wildwood,' I have the opportunity to tell a madly ambitious story of magic, wonder, and danger set in the place I grew up. My very own Portland will join that pantheon of unforgettable fantasy realms, with a stirring epic that will kindle imaginations, lift spirits, and break hearts.”

Knight described the novel, written by Meloy and illustrated by his wife Carson Ellis, as a "lyrical work of art."

“The entire Laika family is fully committed to honoring it with a film of breathtaking spectacle and aching beauty," he said. "I can’t wait to share it with the world."

"Wildwood" will be the first fully animated feature film lensed by multiple Oscar-nominated cinematographer Caleb Deschanel. Producer Arianne Sutner and screenwriter Chris Butler, both of whom won Golden Globes for the studio’s "Missing Link," will also be working on the film. 

The studio's description of the film is as follows: 

Beyond Portland’s city limits lies Wildwood. You’re not supposed to go there. You’re not even supposed to know it exists. But Prue McKeel is about to enter this enchanted wonderland. Her baby brother Mac has been taken by a murder of crows into the forest's depths, and she – along with her hapless classmate Curtis – is going to get him back. Prue might think she’s too old for fairytales, but she’s just found herself at the center of one. One filled with strange talking animals, roguish bandits, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions.

Wildwood is a tale of love, loss, sacrifice and secrets, and of the magic you can find on your doorstep, if you’re willing to look for it.