Henry Selick leaves Laika

Oregon Live is reporting that Henry Selick is leaving his home base at Laika. The studio did not explain the departure other than to say that Selick’s contract has expired. This follows Laika’s decision to focus primarily on stop-motion and lay off 63 CG animators.

You can read Laika’s official statement on Henry’s departure here.


  • Christina S.

    Huh. Well, whoever said “Henry Selick forced Laika to drop their CG department” must be feeling rather sheepish now.

  • http://www.bishopanimation.com FloydBishop

    What the hell is going on up there?

  • Animator

    I’m excited about the future of Laika now. Laika will be much better off without him. Good luck guys!

  • http://thedreamerskingdom.org TK

    At least it was a good choice to have Selick for LAIKA’s first film nonetheless. Coraline should simply be seen as a great benchmark for their next film.

  • http://pittsburghartistregistry.org/jeffreymcandrew Jeffrey T. McAndrew

    It’s surprising to hear that Mr. Selick is leaving Laika so soon after the blockbuster success of Coraline. I wish him the best and I’m sure the animation community has not heard the last of him.

  • http://pittsburghartistregistry.org/jeffreymcandrew Jeffrey T. McAndrew

    Animator, have you actually worked with Selick before?

    I am a fan of NMBC, James and the Giant Peach, Coraline, and Monkeybone. I also really appreciated the commentary he did for NMBC DVD.

    I don’t know much about Selick as a person, but I’ve never heard of him reffered to in a negative light before.

  • http://MrFunsBlog Floyd Norman

    This comes as a real surprise. I was speaking with Henry just last week. I had no idea.

  • Puppet Maker

    He’s a brilliant guy, but difficult to work with. The future is still very bright at Laika.

  • Too Much Tacos

    Wasn’t Sellick in line to adapt Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book? Is that project set up at Laika, or elsewhere?

  • Doofus

    Weird.

  • crab cakes

    Interesting. Based on his rep, I wouldn’t be surprised if that relationship ended on a sour note.

  • http://www.andrewchesworth.com Andrew Chesworth

    This sounds like a business decision more than anything. From the Phil Knight quote in the Oregon Live article, one can infer the “baggage of genius” to be equatable to the off-time salary a studio will pay for a director as new projects are developed. Granted, it would seem that that is a necessary investment in future projects, but given the order of events at Laika, and the bad politics surrounding all the layoffs, the contract “expiring” is a nice technicality to hide behind when the company seems to be playing a conservative cash game, and you have an expensive leader hanging around who, by the way, is said to not even be directing the next film. Perhaps Selick is taking advantage of the situation to get off the hook for everyone’s benefit and let the youngsters do their thing without resentful, also allowing him to do his thing without any strings attached. In any event, there doesn’t seem to be anything shady about this. Best wishes to all parties involved!

  • http://www.andrewchesworth.com Andrew Chesworth

    I would add that, I agree with Leonard Maltin’s mournful statement about the loss of a great captain. Coraline was an incredible film, one of my favorites in ages.

  • RaisiNoid

    Maybe they’ll bring back Will Vinton.

  • Andrew

    Uh, Jeffrey, OBVIOUSLY you’ve never spoken to anyone who’s ever worked with him. The man is a tyrant. Creatively he’s a visionary, but he’s defensive, paranoid, and socially inept, not to mention a whirling vortex of mixed messages as a director. He’s well known for throwing temper tantrums, and uses his power to hire/vire vindictively. Coraline was beautiful, but I know there are many who will be happy to see Henry go.

  • John Q. Public

    How the hell does Ralph Bakshi get such a bad rap?

  • Grant

    “Coraline” was hardly a box office “blockbuster.”

  • Animator

    @ Jeffrey T. McAndrew

    Yes, I have had the misfortune of actually working for Henry Selick.

    Everything Andrew stated about the working conditions in the above post is true.

  • http://www.wardjenkins.com Ward

    I’d rather hear from those who’ve actually WORKED with Henry, or from Henry HIMSELF here on CB about what really went down. Instead of from rumormongers.

  • akira

    whoever edited the coraline special features seemed to hate mr. selick. the editing seems like it was done to make him look extra CREEPY!

  • Maguilla

    If rumors are true, they HAD to let him go. The studio is looking down the road 20 years from now. Negative but quite brilliant people can become a liability through nepotism and favoritism. People with potential can get lost in a vortex of negativity.

  • J. Shamblin

    Laika’s lose. I wonder if he is leaving to work on Burton’s Frankenweenie?

  • Tom D

    This is a surprising turn of events, and what’s more, it’s shocking that Laika didn’t immediately follow up with a positive press release explaining what happened and putting a nice polish on everything. The silence makes it seem all fhe more catastrophic.

  • Milhouse

    Nepotism? Favoritism? In the making of animated features? I am shocked, shocked to hear that there is gambling in this establishment!

  • http://MrFunsBlog Floyd Norman

    I’m shocked! Shocked, to hear that animation directors are defensive, paranoid, and socially inept.

  • G Melissa Graziano

    I’m guessing he’s not working on Frankenweenie, since (and please correct me if I’m wrong) he and Burton had a falling out after Nightmare.

    I thought he looked somewhat peculiar at the Annies but didn’t get a chance to speak to him. I really wish I had, because, despite everything else, I admire the man’s work and respect him as a director.

    Btw Laika, if you’re lookin’ for a sub, I’m currently unemployed. Ha ha!

  • Pedro Nakama

    I heard he left because somebody called him an “Upstart”.

  • http://www.battlebears.com Benjamin Vu

    I had the fortune of working with Henry early in the production of Coraline, even before the decision to go 100% stop-mo. Henry is a talented director, producer, and writer. As one of his 2D/3D CG artists, I can say that Henry was never anti-CG and actually very interested in pushing the technique forward. He’s both methodical and experimental in his process, always open to trying new ways of doing things. He would indeed switch gears at times which would please, upset, or disrupt the production. That’s filmmaking and business. Depending on your role or perspective, Henry’s style could’ve been seen as a liability or an asset. As a producer/director, Henry had enormous creative and administrative responsibilities with the film AND the studio on the line. Through all the madness, he led a team that delivered a financially successful film that broke new ground in technique and presentation (stereo 3D). No easy task.

    Henry leaving LAIKA is obviously a business decision and I am sure Henry and LAIKA will continue to accomplish great things in the future. Best of luck to both.

  • Marcus

    Laika has removed an giant cancerous tumor from within. Now it will be able to grow and flourish. Henry can go try to ruin another company.

  • http://the3damigos.blogspot.com/ DanDan

    I saw Mr. Selick at the Mill Valley Film Festival this Sunday. He was a very pleasant and interesting. I took my 13 year old daughter and she loved it. He is a very creative individual and gave some good insight into his work and the animation industry in general. He’s also VERY tall. :)

  • Steven Ng

    Henry Selick gave a short interview and Q and A session in San Francisco for ASIFA-SF following the Mill Valley Film Festival. He said he’d likely do his next film in San Francisco. As the interviewer picked someone for the last question, Henry said he’d answer him, but also specified he’d take a question from a young girl who also had her hand up. I thought that was a very kind gesture.