Piranesi Piranesi

Despite not having released a film in over five years, Portland area stop-motion studio Laika remains active behind the scenes.

This week the Travis Knight-run operation added a new title to its upcoming slate. The company announced that it has acquired rights to Susanna Clarke’s fantasy novel Piranesi. The project aligns nicely with its other announced films, and seemingly points to a new era of mature and challenging work from the boutique studio.

Here is what we know about Piranesi at the moment:

  • Clarke’s fantasy novel has sold over four million copies since its publication in 2020 and won the prestigious Women’s Prize for Fiction. The publisher’s synopsis:

    Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

    There is one other person in the house-a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

  • Knight is attached to direct Piranesi. He is also directing the studio’s next film, Wildwood, based on the novel written by Colin Meloy, lead singer and songwriter for The Decemberists, and illustrated by Carson Ellis. That film is set for release in 2025. Laika is also developing The Night Gardener with Ozark creator Bill Dubuque. Knight is again attached as director.
  • In a statement, Knight said of Clarke’s novel:

    Piranesi is a treasure, and very dear to me. As a filmmaker, I can scarcely imagine a more joyful experience than wandering through the worlds Susanna dreamed into being. She’s one of my all-time favorite authors, and with Piranesi, Susanna has created a beautiful, devastating and ultimately life-affirming work of art. I’m humbled that she chose Laika as her home.

  • Author Susanna Clarke added:

    Animation is one of my favorite things. I’ve been inspired by so many animated movies; and Laika has produced such extraordinary work — movies like Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings, full of beauty and wonder and weirdness. I’m thrilled that Piranesi has found a home with them and I can’t wait to see what they do.

  • The last film that Laika released was The Missing Link in 2019. All five of its films to date have been nominated for an Academy Award for best animated feature.

Amid Amidi

Amid Amidi is Cartoon Brew's Publisher and Editor-at-large.