'Coraline' Animators Nab Rights to 'Goblins'

Laika will produce a stop-motion adaptation of the upcoming children's book, to be directed by Mark Gustafson.

Laika, the Portland-based animation company behind 2009's Coraline, has optioned Goblins, an upcoming children's book by Philip Reeve, and has attached Mark Gustafson, the animation director of Fantastic Mr. Fox, to helm the adaptation.

According to Laika, the book is set in a monsterful world of “riotous, ill-mannered and all-around bloodthirsty goblins who live in the gigantic ruins of Clovenstone Castle and spend their time mindlessly fighting, looting and menacing neighboring villages. Only clever young Skarper understands that an ancient and powerful magic created by a vanquished sorcerer is rising again.”

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What follows is an adventure that encompasses giants, cloudmaidens, swamp monsters, treewarriors, rampaging goblins and hapless humans.

The Scholastic book was just released in the U.K. but doesn’t hit U.S. stores in the until fall 2013.

Laika is in production on its 3D stop-motion feature ParaNorman, which is due in theaters Aug. 17.  

Reeve also wrote the award-winning book Mortal Engine and is repped by Philippa Milnes-Smith of The Law Agency in London.

Gustafson, repped by the Gotham Group, is a veteran of the stop-motion and animation scene. He first made his mark when he created a five-minute dream sequence for the 1980s Bruce Willis-Cybill Shepherd TV series Moonlighting. He also worked on the Fox series The PJs as well as many commercials, including the California Raisins.

His first major foray into features was Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), and he is now co-directing with Guillermo del Toro a stop-motion adaptation of Pinocchio.