Henry Selick, stop-motion animation master and director of Coraline, James and the Giant Peach, and The Nightmare Before Christmas will be making a live-action feature, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The film will be an adaptation of Adam Gidwitz’s horror-children’s book A Tale Dark and Grimm. The book is a re-imagining of the tale of Hansel and Gretel, siblings who get lost in the woods and run across other fairytale characters and creatures from the Brothers Grimm stable.
This won’t be Selick’s first foray into the realm of live-action (nor adaptation); in 2001, he directed Monkeybone, which was based on a comic book by Kaja Blackley. There’s also no guarantee that A Tale Dark and Grimm won’t incorporate some of Selick’s signature stop-motion animation – à la classic monster movies like King Kong and Jason and the Argonauts. Monkeybone featured interactions between the live actors and stop-motion animated characters.
Selick will be joining a growing number of modern animation directors who have made the switch from cartoons to live-action. Brad Bird, director of Pixar’s The Incredibles and Ratatouille, made Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol in 2011 and is filming Tomorrowland for a 2014 release; Wall-E director Andrew Stanton put out John Carter last year, though he’s currently switching back to animation for 2016’s Finding Dory – possibly due to John Carter‘s reported $200 million loss for Disney.
Selick had previously been in talks to adapt the Neil Gaiman (author of Coraline) novel The Graveyard Book, but reports suggests those plans have fallen through. Hopefully, Selick – along with producers Marissa McMahon, Aaron Ryder, and Karen Lunder – will have better luck adapting Gidwitz than Gaiman.