Set Visit: The Boxtrolls

by HFPA March 1, 2014

Laika Studios

The HFPA recently got a special treat: A sneak behind-the–scenes peak at the set of the upcoming animated film The Boxtrolls. The story, adapted from Here Be Monsters, the children’s book by Alan Snow, is coming to life at Laika studios, a 150,000-sq.ft. warehouse in Oregon, which truly is the closest thing we’ve seen to an actual dream factory. Founded by Travis Knight, Laika is the studio behind last year’s ParaNorman and Henry Selick’s Golden Globe nominated Coraline (2010). The nondescript facility on the outskirts of Portland is the place where the wonderfully anachronistic and evocative art of stop-motion (the animation technique pioneered among others by George Pal, Ray Harryhausen and many European masters such as Jan Švankmajer) lives on and thrives in the United States. Selick of course is the visionary animator behind Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas as well as James and the Giant Peach, as for Knight he certainly is a unique figure in American filmmaking. The son of Nike founder Phil Knight who financed Laika, he is a self-taught stop-motion aficionado that runs the studio as producer, executive and head animator, an articulate enthusiast and somewhat of a polymath (he also counts a rap album among his credits) he personally gave us a tour of the astonishingly painstaking process that goes into a stop-motion feature (joining us for the occasion was Boxtrolls voice talent Elle Fanning). Laika employs 300 stop-motion craftsmen that are finishing the 3-year process of giving life to hundreds of puppets in dozens of eye-poppingly detailed model sets. After having seen them we can’t wait for the final result: The Focus Features film, featuring the voice talents of Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Toni Collette, Ben Kingsley and Elle Fanning is due out this Fall. In the meantime you can check out pictures and videos of the production for yourselves on Laika’s instagram page. Click here