LAIKA, the studio known for the Academy Award-nominated films Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, Kubo and the Two Strings and Missing Link, today announced The Night Gardener, an ambitious new project in conjunction with Bill Dubuque, creator of Netflix’s hit series Ozark.
LAIKA’s CEO & President Travis Knight, who directed Kubo and the Two Strings and Paramount’s Bumblebee, will direct from Dubuque’s original screenplay.
Adding to the studio’s diverse catalog, The Night Gardener is a gritty neo-noir folktale centered on a young man in rural Missouri fighting to keep his family together in the wake of a tragedy.
The film will paint an unflinching portrait of sacrifice, self-reliance and revenge.
“The Night Gardener is a beautiful and timeless story that quickens the pulse as often as it breaks the heart,” says Knight.
“Bill is a masterful storyteller. He’s crafted a lyrical world layered with complex characters, provocative ideas, and keenly felt emotion. It’s gonna be one helluva movie.”
“I’m delighted that Travis Knight saw in The Night Gardener a story worthy of the time intensive process and collective talent of LAIKA’s in-house artisans,” says Dubuque.
“LAIKA’s creativity and dedication to detail is, in my opinion, as close as one can come to conjuring storytelling magic.”
The studio is currently in production on Wildwood, the first film set in LAIKA’s hometown of Portland, Oregon. Knight is directing the animated film, based on the bestselling fantasy novel written by Colin Meloy, lead singer and songwriter for the rock group The Decemberists.
Bill Dubuque co-wrote the Warner Brothers feature The Judge, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall, for which Duvall would earn an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor as well as penning The Accountant, starring Ben Affleck.
Dubuque is also co-creator, writer and executive producer of Netflix’s hit show Ozark. Prior to a career in screenwriting, Dubuque worked as a headhunter for over a decade. A profession he turned into the feature film A Family Man, starring Gerard Butler and Willem Dafoe.
LAIKA was founded in 2005 in Oregon by President & CEO Travis Knight. The studio’s five films — Coraline (2009), ParaNorman (2012), The Boxtrolls (2014), Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) and Missing Link (2019) — have all been nominated for the Academy Award for Outstanding Animated Feature.
Kubo and the Two Strings won the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film and received an additional Oscar nomination for Visual Effects. Missing Link was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Animated Film.
LAIKA was awarded a Scientific and Technology Oscar in 2016 for its innovation in 3D printing. Recently, the studio announced its first live-action feature film based on the action thriller novel Seventeen by screenwriter John Brownlow.