The Night Gardener: LAIKA’s Travis Knight to direct a stop-motion neo-noir folktale from Ozark co-creator

The Night Gardener, Travis Knight, Laika

Travis Knight is at it again, folks! The LAIKA CEO and President officially signed on to direct The Night Gardener, a stop-motion animated neo-noir folktale from Ozark co-creator Bill Dubuque. Based on Dubuque’s original idea, The Night Gardener focuses on a young man in rural Missouri fighting to keep his family together in the wake of a tragedy. The movie is expected to paint an unflinching portrait of sacrifice, self-reliance, and revenge. Whoa!

LAIKA is currently in production on Wildwood. The stop-motion animated film is based on the novel of the same name by Colin Meloy – the lead singer and songwriter of the rock group The Decemberists. In Wildwood, Prue and her friend Curtis uncover a secret world amid violent upheaval—a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and influential figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much more significant as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.

LAIKA’s Wildwood has been on the table since before 2014’s The Boxtrolls. I remember hearing about plans to adapt Wildwood when I toured the Portland studio that same year. I immediately bought the Wildwood novel from Powell’s Books and was delighted by what I’d read.

The Night Gardener is a beautiful and timeless story that quickens the pulse as often as it breaks the heart,” said Knight. “Bill is a masterful storyteller. He’s crafted a lyrical world layered with complex characters, provocative ideas, and keenly felt emotion. It’s gonna be one helluva movie.”

“I’m delighted that Travis Knight saw in The Night Gardener a story worthy of the time-intensive process and collective talent of LAIKA’s in-house artisans,” added Dubuque. “LAIKA’s creativity and dedication to detail is, in my opinion, as close as one can come to conjuring storytelling magic.”

What do you think The Night Gardener will be rated? Could this be LAIKA’s first R-rated stop-motion animated film?

Source: Deadline

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.