Australian actor Kodi Smit-McPhee (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) had previously been attached to star. Butterfield joins Gillian Anderson (The X Files), Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games franchise), and Jemaine Clement (People Places Things) in Oscar-nominated director Sam Fell’s first live-action feature which revolves around a young grim reaper (Butterfield) caught between the land of the living and oblivion. Fell previously the critically acclaimed 2012 stop motion feature ParaNorman, a film which featured the voice talent of Smit-McPhee.
British company Cornerstone Films, established earlier in the year by Alison Thompson and Mark Gooder, is set to take the project to AFM next month in the hopes of luring buyers.
Butterfield was recently seen as the titular character in Gavin Hood’s Ender’s Game and in last year’s A Brilliant Young Mind (original title X+Y) as a teenage math prodigy. The budding talent recently earned notoriety as he was one of the actors in contention for the reboot of Spider-man (Tom Holland ultimately won out). Butterfield will be seen next in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children as a youth who comes across a school on a mysterious island, and finds that the “peculiar” students actually possessed incredible powers. That film, directed by Tim Burton, is expected to bow on Christmas Day, 2016.