Laika Options Debut Novel from The Decemberists Rocker Colin Meloy and Illustrator Carson Ellis
September 20, 2011

Laika Options Debut Novel from The Decemberists Rocker Colin Meloy and Illustrator Carson Ellis

Portland, Ore. - Portland-based animation studio LAIKA has optioned Wildwood, the debut HarperCollins children's novel written by Colin Meloy, lead singer and songwriter for The Decemberists, with illustrations by award-winning artist Carson Ellis.

The announcement was made by Travis Knight, LAIKA president and CEO. LAIKA produced the Oscar- and BAFTA-nominated feature film Coraline, and is currently in production on the 3D stop-motion animated feature film  ParaNorman.

"Wildwood is a marvel, an exquisite, staggering, and lyrical work of art," says Knight. "It's an uncannily perfect fit for LAIKA, commingling the time-honored qualities of classic fantasies and fairy tales with a bold, contemporary sensibility. Colin's captivating, melodic prose and Carson's gorgeous, spellbinding illustrations form a rich bounty of ideas, language, and imagery. Wildwood is a wonderful work of literature, and LAIKA is fully committed to honoring it with an exceptional, groundbreaking film." 

Wildwood, the first book in an epic middle-grade fantasy series full of magic, wonder, and danger set in an alternate version of modern-day Portland, Ore., tells the story of Prue McKeel, whose ordinary life is changed forever when her younger brother is abducted by a murder of crows and taken to the Impassable Wilderness, an enchanted and forbidding forest on the edge of Portland. No one's ever gone in--or at least returned to tell of it. Within this secret world, Prue and her friend Curtis embark on a rescue mission and find themselves entwined in a violent struggle for freedom amidst warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. Wildwood, filled with 85 intricate and beautiful illustrations by artist Carson Ellis, will be published on August 30, 2011 by HarperCollins' Balzer + Bray imprint.

To view the animated trailer created by LAIKA/house for the book, visit

"Hands down, there is no other movie studio in the entire world besides LAIKA that I would entrust Wildwood to," says Meloy. "Carson and I were prepared to stonewall any and all suitors for the movie rights, so close was this book to our hearts. However, when LAIKA came calling, our defenses promptly came down. There is no doubt in my mind that they will come to this story with the passion, imagination and general awesomeness required to make this book into a truly beautiful animated film."

"I'm a stop motion enthusiast," notes Ellis, "and I've been a fan of LAIKA since we saw Coraline a couple of years back. When we visited the studio and saw all the brilliant creative work happening there--someone building a waist-high New England village in painstaking detail, someone else sewing pinhead-sized rivets on tiny blue jeans--we were won over completely. It's an amazing place staffed by patient, meticulous, super-talented people who wouldn't work there if they didn't love stop-motion animation. I'm so excited to see what  Wildwood will look like in their hands."