Henry Selick prepares “the spiritual sequel” to Coraline

Fifteen years later, the director reunites with Neil Gaiman, the author behind Coraline, on a new project: The Ocean at the End of the Road.

Winner of the Cristal for feature film at the Annecy Animated Film Festival in 2009, Coraline has seen its popularity increase over the years. Produced entirely in stop-motion, the story is that of a little girl named Coraline (voiced in the original version by Dakota Fanning). She discovers in the new house where she moves in with her parents, a secret door containing a mysterious passage leading her to a parallel world identical to her own – apart from a few details. Her life is much better there, her parents are there for her and her neighbors are pleasant. Very quickly, this new Alice in Wonderland is seduced by this world where the characters have buttons sewn in place of eyes. But behind the magical appearance hides a darkness and the plot turns into a nightmare… At the helm, we find Henry Selick, director of The strange Christmas of Mr. Jack.

Henry Selick: the journey of an animation genius

From CoralineSelick only managed to complete one project: Wendell and Wild released in 2022 on Netflix. Before that, his animated films were not animated… Until today.

Present at the Annecy Festival as part of a panel on animation talents, the director looked back on his experiences in this field, his work at Disney and his desire to experiment and innovate ever more. In a room full of fans, he announced a new project: the adaptation of The ocean at the end of the roada novel signed Neil Gaiman of which here is the synopsis:

“Returning to the house where he spent his childhood, the narrator finds himself overwhelmed by the memory of the strange and tragic events which marked the year he was seven years old. A suicide in a stolen car; Lettie Hempstock, this little neighbor who told him that the pond at the end of the path was an ocean; the monsters that lurked in the darkness… Why did he bury them in his memory? What really happened that year?”

This would not be the first collaboration between the director and the author since Gaiman was also at the origin of Coraline and of The Strange Life of Nobody Owens – a work that Selick also had to adapt before the project fell through.

Regarding this new project, the filmmaker affirms that it will almost be a sequel to Coraline. According to Variety, he would have confirmed:

“Instead of having a child who goes to another world where there is a monstrous mother, it is a show mother who arrives in our world and sows chaos in the child’s life.”

Universal Pictures International France

At the time, there would be the ShadowMachine studios (behind Pinocchio by Guillermo Del Torro) and Laika (already involved in Coraline).

Taking advantage of this panel, Henry Selick also admitted his desire to revive his umpteenth abandoned project, The Shadow King – abruptly interrupted for budgetary reasons. Through a graphic novel, he hopes to attract investors ready to bank on his vision to realize his ideas. In the meantime, Annecy spectators were able to discover exclusive images.

For fans who were unable to attend the panel, some extracts from the abandoned project are circulating on YouTube.


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