Laika, the Hillsboro, Oregon-based studio behind stop-motion films like Coraline, Kubo and the Two Strings, and Missing Link, is expanding into live action. The company has optioned Seventeen, the upcoming debut novel by screenwriter John Brownlow, and plans to adapt it as a live-action project.
The novel, which Hanover Square will publish in the U.S. next year, is described as an action thriller. Brownlow is working with Laika to develop it for the screen. His screenwriting credits include the 2003 feature Sylvia, a biopic of Sylvia Plath starring Gwyneth Paltrow, and the three-part BBC limited series The Miniaturist, which he also executive-produced.
Announcing the news, Laika president and CEO Travis Knight (image at top) said, “For the past 15 years, Laika has been committed to making movies that matter. Across mediums and genres, our studio has fused art, craft, and technology in service of bold, distinctive, and enduring stories. With Seventeen, Laika is taking that philosophy in an exciting new direction.”
Laika’s five films have earned it five Oscar nominations, a BAFTA, and a Golden Globe. The studio is currently producing its sixth animated feature, about which no details have been announced. However, its releases have seen diminishing returns at the box office. 2019’s Missing Link grossed only $26.3 million worldwide on a reported $100 million-plus budget.
Meanwhile, Knight has staged his own entry into live action. After making his directorial debut with 2016’s Kubo and the Two Strings, he directed the live-action Bumblebee for Paramount, and is now attached to helm Warner Bros.’s live-action The Six Billion Dollar Man. In this light, Laika’s move seems unsurprising.