Henry Selick is Reviving “The Shadow King”; Synopsis and First Artwork Released

Six months after Disney pulled the plug on Henry Selick’s film The Shadow King, Selick wants to revive production on the film. He is shopping the film this week at the European Film Market in Berlin.

In its new incarnation, Selick (director, Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas) has teamed up with Beasts of the Southern Wild producer Josh Penn, and has enlisted K5 International to rep the film’s international rights. This is the official synopsis of the story, which Selick wrote himself:

Hap Dagger, a nine-year-old orphan, hides his fantastically weird hands from a cruel world. But when a Living Shadow Girl teaches him to make amazing hand shadows that come alive, his hands become incredible weapons in a shadow war against a ravenous Monster who could destroy Hap’s brother and all of New York.

According to a press release from K5, the film has a committed crew that includes director of photography Peter Sorg (Frankenweenie, Coraline), frequent Selick collaborator Eric Leighton (animation director on Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’hoole), production designer Lou Romano (The Incredibles), editor Wyatt Jones (Immortals, Rango, TRON: Legacy, Zodiac), and composer Bruno Coulais (Coraline). Voice cast includes Jaden Betts (voice of Hap) Pamela Adlon (voice of Richard) Brendon Glesson (voice of Darce) Jeffrey Tambor (voice of Cuzzie Bell) and Catherine O’Hara (voice of Miss Fern)

K5 also released the following montage of art from the film:


  • geekzapoppin

    I hope he gets his funding. While I wasn’t crazy about his screenplay for Coraline, I love his work as a director. I’ll gladly pay to see anything he creates.

  • CG_Animator

    That sounds… AWESOME.

  • Patrick

    Best of Luck to Henry and his crew- really hope they find a home!

  • http://twitter.com/LanceBravestar1 Lance Bravestar

    Let’s hope its release doesn’t coincide with Dreamworks’ Me and My Shadow.

  • Matt Jones

    Great news! The American feature animation scene needs Selick’s twisted visions desperately. Long live stop-mo!

  • http://twitter.com/kellytindall Kelly Tindall

    I hope it gets made. CORALINE and NIGHTMARE are two favorites of mine.

  • Kevin

    I hope Henry and his team find a studio or company that will support them. After reading the summary of his film’s story, I’m really excited to seeing this in theaters!

  • wever

    Great to hear he’s not giving up! That news 6 months ago was very sad so I am relieved he’s still shopping it around. … it reminds me of a bit too much of the premise for Dreamworks’ ‘Me And My Shadow’, but I trust this to be a completely different kind of film.

  • brett

    I heard that he racked up 50 million in development costs (someone please correct me if I’m wrong). Even with 80 crew on full-time it would take 2 years just to get through half of it, and I doubt he had 80 people on to do development.

    It feels like he should move on to another project and come back to this one with fresh eyes.

    • JustSaying

      a fair share of that 50 mil went towards building out a huge stop motion warehouse in SF (sets, animation, editorial, production depts) as well as money spent working over a year on SK.

      its understandable that you would build out a studio if you think you’re working on a 3 picture deal with Disney.

      • Skent

        That’s crazy. If Shadow King wasn’t working out, maybe they should’ve shelved it earlier and worked on one of the other 2. It seems a shame to just abandon the whole investment.

        I’m a big fan and will see anything Selick directs, but even I know this isn’t the sort of project to burden with a massive budget.

  • mee

    Also sounds kinda like…

    Hap Dagger, a nine-year-old orphan, hides his fantastically weird hands from a cruel world. But when a Living Shadow Girl teaches him to make amazing hand shadows that come alive…

    Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands

    until I get to this part

    his hands become incredible weapons in a shadow war against a ravenous Monster who could destroy Hap’s brother and all of New York.

    weapons? :-(

    Aren’t there better things to do with gifts? Ah, Edward, I still feel for you. I think we’re dumb.

  • Capital_7

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  • Polecat

    I’d love to see the trailer.

  • Léa

    Please yes! Let’s bring the unusual back.

  • Bill “Danger” Robinson

    …and THAT’S the best promo art they could come up with?